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Nature. 2002 Sep 12;419(6903):131-2.

Mexican waves in an excitable medium.

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1
Department of Biological Physics, Eötvös University Budapest, 1117 Budapest, Hungary.

Abstract

The Mexican wave, or La Ola, which rose to fame during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, surges through the rows of spectators in a stadium as those in one section leap to their feet with their arms up, and then sit down again as the next section rises to repeat the motion. To interpret and quantify this collective human behaviour, we have used a variant of models that were originally developed to describe excitable media such as cardiac tissue. Modelling the reaction of the crowd to attempts to trigger the wave reveals how this phenomenon is stimulated, and may prove useful in controlling events that involve groups of excited people.

PMID:
12226653
DOI:
10.1038/419131a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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