It would take 2.4 million seagulls to lift James's Giant Peach

It would take 2.4 million seagulls to lift James's Giant Peach

Roald Dahl. Your writing was wonderful but your physics was woeful

03 Jan 2013

If you haven't read James And The Giant Peach then stub your toe intentionally. You're a disgrace.

If you have, you may remember that 501 seagulls lifted James's huge fruit into the skies. It turns out that figure is poppycock.

Calculations by The University Of Leicester reveal that some 2,425,907 seagulls would be needed to lift the peach skyward.

The fourth year physics students were inspired to use the classic kids book as the basis for a their study. They calculated the weight of the peach, using measurements based on the size of a small house, as described by author Roald Dahl.

By multiplying its density by its volume, and using Newton's second law of motion, they arrived at a figure of 4,890,579 Newtons – the amount of force it would take to move the peach. With us so far?

Then they worked out how much weight each seagull could lift based on its wingspan, the density of air around it and the speed it would travel. Apparently that's just over two Newtons. They used this to work out how many it would take to lift the whole thing.

"It showed us that 501 seagulls would be nowhere near enough to lift the peach, and that it would take much more – nearly 2.5 million seagulls to do this," student Emily Jane told This Is Leicestershire.

Via: This Is Leicestershire / Image: Allstar

Tags: Science, books

Share on

or email.

  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Delicious

Add a comment

Ballot Box

Who's better - Batman or Superman?

Who's better - Batman or Superman?

Follow Shortlist on Twitter
Find Shortlist on Facebook