Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why not weigh your own head?

Looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Why not design a way to weigh your own head?  Too weighty?

I was watching QI (Hypothetical) in which Steven Fry poses the question: "How would you weigh your own head?", which I thought would be a fantastic open-ended question to pose to a science class:

Design an method that would allow someone to weigh their own head (within a certain degree of accuracy).  
The method that was proposed was to utilize Archimedes' Principle and submerge your head in a bucket of water while catching the spillage (which I think would be an excellent thing to do in class as well).

Johnny Vegas then wondered if the air pockets in our head would affect the measurement (which I felt was an excellent question and one that a student could pose).  Apparently (according to Steven Fry), the density of the bones in our skull is greater than that of water, so coupled with the lesser density of the air pockets, the overall density of our head is roughly equivalent to water.  The submersion method gets a result nearly equivalent to using a CT scanner to approximate the weight.

What do you think?  Can you come up with an alternative method of weighing your own head?

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