Q: If you were to break down an average human body into its individual atoms, and then laid the atoms out in a single straight line, how far would it stretch?

Physicist: Atoms are a little “fuzzy”, so their exact size is a little tricky to define.  So taking their size in terms of bond length, and looking at the most common elements in the human body (by mass: 65% oxygen, 18% carbon, and 10% hydrogen), you’ll find that 1kg of person will stretch about 7 trillion km.  So an average (80kg) human would extend about 550 trillion km, or about 14 billion loops around the equator, or 1.4 billion trips to the moon, or about 58 light years.

So you can fit a rich man through the eye of a needle, but be sure to coil him up after you string him out.  Otherwise the process will take at least 58 years.

This entry was posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Brain Teaser. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Q: If you were to break down an average human body into its individual atoms, and then laid the atoms out in a single straight line, how far would it stretch?

  1. Dinah says:

    if atoms were to be doubled or tripled in a human what could or would be the result?

  2. The Physicist The Physicist says:

    I suppose they’d get three times as big, and yet have the same amount of mass.
    Someone with a density that low would be an excellent swimmer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>