Friday, September 21, 2012

Fairy Tale Fridays - The Science Behind The Tales

There never ceases to be new ways to look at fairy tales. This week I discovered the science of fairy tales - who'da thunk it? Well maybe the Mythbusters. In fact, I think the Mythbusters have tested the strength of human hair - they even tested it to see if a prisoner could use it as a means of escape, although not in the same way that Rapunzel did.

Could the prince really have scaled Rapunzel's hair to rescue her? In fact, he could have, although it would have been safer for him if she would have had darker hair and safer for her if she would have tied her hair around something before throwing it down. An average strand of hair can hold three and half ounces, an average blonde has 140, 000 strands of hair, so the prince and a couple of his friends could have climbed the tower. If Rapunzel didn't tie her hair around something first, though, her hair would have ripped right out of her head.

Scientists have also discovered that it is possible to create a material that will bend sound wave around walls or enclosed areas. Sound waves generated in the enclosed area would never escape so if the witch in The Little Mermaid had used the material, she would not even have needed a curse to silence Ariel's beautiful singing voice.

Aladdin's flying carpet? Yes, that's possible, too. Not with Aladdin on it and only if it were a very small, very thin carpet. Scientific calculations show that small waves of air, repeated in fast pulses, could steer a carpet a foot per second.

Might the creators of these original tales have seen something in their lives that gave them the ideas for these tales?

Jocelyn Wildenstein
How might modern science affect the tales if they were written today? With genetically modified crops, it is possible to grown taller, stronger bean stalks than ever before, making the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk more believable. If plastic surgery and botox had existed centuries ago, though, the tale of Snow White might never have existed; the evil queen would just have gone to see her favorite doctor and she would once again have been the "fairest of them all." Assuming she didn't go so often she ended up looking like the Cat Woman!


  1. Fascinating subject! It just proves that the line between science and fiction is very, very thin indeed.

  2. haha love this. I'm a Mythbuster's fan and I love the idea of testing these out.

  3. I'd love to see the Mythbusters test these things out!

  4. Fascinating post! I have dark hair but don't think I'd want anyone climbing up it even if it were tied to something.

  5. That is exactly what I think about Rapunzel - ouch, it would've just ripped out. I don't know about science providing the ideas though, at least it doesn't tend to matter to children and they're old stories, otherwise though, yes. Love your idea of Snow White, pretty funny, though it would take the interest out of the story.