The science of pedestrian crowds: smart swarms or mindless mobs?

Crowd by Eduardo Fonseca Arraes

Crowd by Eduardo Fonseca Arraes

Poster for Nikolai Bode

Poster for Nikolai Bode

The February talk will be given by Dr Nikolai Bode of the University of Bristol who will be talking about his research into crowds.

Large crowds of pedestrians moving through built environments are an everyday occurrence. Examples include passengers moving through transport hubs and people leaving a building during a fire drill. We will explore the science behind crowd movement: do crowds flow like water? How do pedestrians interact? Do these interactions result in a clever, emergent organisation of pedestrian traffic? And what does maths have to do with this?

Nikolai is interested in social interactions between individuals (animals and humans), in particular when individuals are moving. A trained mathematician his research is highly inter-disciplinary working with Biologists, Psychologists, Computer Scientists, Engineers, Physicists and Mathematicians. Through a combination of theoretical approaches and experiments he seeks to further our understanding of how individuals interact and what sort of consequences that has at the level of groups or crowds.