If you thought Ducktales was a thing relegated to the 80s or 90s, well, you obviously don’t have kids. The McDuck kids and their grumpy, rich uncle are not only still around, but thriving on streaming platforms like Disney+.
The enduring image (and most common pop-culture reference) from any iteration of the series is the rich Scrooge McDuck going for actual swims in his piles of gold.
But could you actually breaststroke through mounds of money?
Physics professor James Kakalios took some time out of teaching classes at the University of Minnesota to write The Physics of Everyday Things and The Physics of Superheroes, and well, he was dying to figure out the answer.
First, he examined how Scrooge dives into his money – hands first, as if folded in prayer, and quickly followed by the top of his head – and determined that the miserly duck would likely end up with some broken bones.
“Gold is a granular material like sand, a macroscopic object. You can’t swim through sand or dive into it easily.”
You’d want to, at the very least, lead with your feet – and some bent legs.
“A ball pit is a good example.
The balls are lightly packed and have low friction relative to one another.
The key is to have objects in front of you move out of the way in order to advance.”
So, perhaps Scrooge has a workaround for not injuring himself on the dive?
The character has made smirking references over the years to a “trick” to his dive, leading to at least one fan theory that McDuck coats his coins in some kind of lube to make them move more easily out of the way.
Silly, of course, but possible?
Kakalios isn’t so sure.
“You would need a massive amount of lube to slide your body past the coins with minimal effort.
The ball pit is easier because the weight of the elements is low. Gold is a very dense material.”
Well thanks for shattering our dreams!
Basically, it’s possible but not at all practical or comfortable, since one 5-foot-tall pile of gold would put 2492 pounds of pressure on a little duck body.
If you found all of this very interesting but really just made you want to watch more DuckTales, well, you’re in luck -DisneyXD is relaunching the series.
Let us know if you’re gonna watch! Drop a comment!