Why was a scientist thrown out of a classical concert?

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David Glowacki, a theoretical chemist, was forcibly ejected from a performance of Handel’s Messiah last week when he attempted to crowd surf.

Dr. Glowacki has a really interesting background that would likely make him a hit with our readers even before the classical music crowd surfing thing. He's the creator of a traveling art installation called Danceroom Spectroscopy, an interactive visualization of the atomic-scale world designed to respond to human movement.

It's also worth noting that Dr. Glowacki's behavior at the Handel concert can be explained by the context — a different sort of interactive theatrical experiment.

When Tom Morris launched the Bristol Proms, he invited audiences to participate with enthusiasm in a festival which would destroy the stuffy conventions of traditional classical concerts. ... Before a performance of the Messiah, Mr Morris, who directed War Horse at the National Theatre, invited the audience to bring beer into a standing “mosh pit” in front of the stage and delivered the Bristol Proms rules: “Clap or whoop when you like, and no shushing other people.”

... According to witnesses, Dr Glowacki responded to the crescendo of the “Hallelujah Chorus” by lurching from side to side, raising his hands, whooping and then attempting an ambitious crowd-surfing manoeuvre. Other audience members, who found Dr Glowacki a distraction, took matters into their own hands and physically ejected him from the arena.

Basically, the director of the concert set up a casual "wild and crazy" scenario and, apparently, only Glowacki took him seriously.

Image: Some rights reserved by Lauren Murphy.