# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?  (Read 4660 times)

#### syhprum

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« on: 12/02/2011 19:18:01 »
I have never seen this familiar question addressed in a science forum and would like to hear the opinions of those versed in physics

#### Geezer

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2011 20:01:35 »
It's very much a matter of opinion, or was that what the man with the wooden leg said?

(Oh dear! I suspect some snotty moderator will relegate this topic to the chat section now.)

#### yor_on

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #2 on: 13/02/2011 00:31:34 »
Well if you want to pin it down, I would say one would be enough to make my day? Not that anyone would believe me.

(just saying)

#### JP

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #3 on: 13/02/2011 04:59:19 »
10.3

#### Geezer

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #4 on: 13/02/2011 05:22:57 »
10.3

Are you trying to make a point?

#### syhprum

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #5 on: 13/02/2011 05:45:34 »
To my mind there is only one thing we can really define in the physical world is the area of a pinhead let us say 10^-7 m^2 then we have to define what is an angel and to a lesser extent what is dancing.
Early writings seem to refer to normal messengers as angels in which case one suitably shod could no doubt be supported on a pinhead although he/she could not do much dancing.
Later mythological writings talk of angels as ethereal beings that can communicate with human beings but appear to have little mass as they can be supported by bird like wings although they are of approximate human dimensions so I cannot see that more than one could balance on a pinhead.

#### Bored chemist

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #6 on: 13/02/2011 10:07:14 »
"How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?"
All of them, but not necessarily at the same time.

#### Pikaia

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #7 on: 13/02/2011 13:30:50 »
In theory you can have any number, but in practice you can only have as many as there is room for.

#### Bored chemist

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #8 on: 13/02/2011 13:55:15 »
In theory you can have any number, but in practice you can only have as many as there is room for.
I realise it's not actually an important issue, but I still wonder; did you read my post?

#### syhprum

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #9 on: 13/02/2011 14:13:47 »
I see only one point to which any scientific discussion can be addressed, if the messanger angel of the old testament weighing say 80 KG wearing iron shod sandals stood on the pinhead would it remain intact or would it be squashed to a greater area, assuming not too much dancing.

#### yor_on

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #10 on: 13/02/2011 18:03:01 »
Now I can solve this, I'm sure I can, can I?:)
But as it sooo simple to solve, I would like to introduce a more realistic approach.

Imagine a moving carpet made of those pins, so close together that they will 'stick' as glued. Then imagine one angel, let's name her the Stig, getting up to speed with her wings outstretched. the pin carpet moves against her motion forward, she absolutely refuse to flap her wings as that will destroy her makeup, and we are waiting for takeoff. And yes, the pin-carpet instantly feel her 'speed' relative it and adapt its own.

How fast will she have to run on those pins, to take off?
Will she take off?

#### Bored chemist

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #11 on: 13/02/2011 20:12:53 »
Now I can solve this, I'm sure I can, can I?:)
But as it sooo simple to solve, I would like to introduce a more realistic approach.

Imagine a moving carpet made of those pins, so close together that they will 'stick' as glued. Then imagine one angel, let's name her the Stig, getting up to speed with her wings outstretched. the pin carpet moves against her motion forward, she absolutely refuse to flap her wings as that will destroy her makeup, and we are waiting for takeoff. And yes, the pin-carpet instantly feel her 'speed' relative it and adapt its own.

How fast will she have to run on those pins, to take off?
Will she take off?

LOL

#### peppercorn

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##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #12 on: 13/02/2011 23:36:51 »
In theory you can have any number, but in practice you can only have as many as there is room for.

Now that sounds like an engineer's answer!

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### How many angels can dance on the head of a pin ?
« Reply #12 on: 13/02/2011 23:36:51 »