The Science of Fairy Tales

Geek Culture

How much weight could Rapunzel’s hair really hold?  Could a carpet really fly?  How could a modern sorceress silence a mermaid by noninvasive methods? Chris Gorski provides some solid answers over at LiveScience in a post about The Science of Fairy Tales:

On average one strand of hair can support about three and one-half ounces, or about the weight of two candy bars. Each strand of dark hair is generally thicker, and therefore stronger, than blond hair.

But, alas, Rapunzel must make do with blond locks. Given that blonds generally have about 140,000 hairs on their heads, her hair should easily support the weight of many, many princes. However, there is more to this story…

The story is an entertaining read, and I’m definitely going to keep these in mind when answering questions from a budding geeklet (and future space scientist or knight, whichever comes first).

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