I was interested to read that Physics students at the University of Leicester have turned their attention on the fantastic world of Roald Dahl, and his magnificent book James and the Giant Peach. According to their report, published in October of last year, it would take approximately two and a half million Common Gulls to lift the peach, rather than the 501 that are described in the book.
Obviously, a number of assumptions were made in the report, not least that bird wings are similar to the aerofoils of planes. The report also crucially fails to address a number of key issues. In the conclusion the report’s authors accept that further research should be done to assess the effect of the ‘horizontal motion of the flight’ and also the ‘loading of the silk threads used to suspend the peach’. Continue reading