Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 1

Virginia Woolf (died by suicide in the River Ouse, Sussex, by filling her pockets with stones and drowning

herself) I couldnt find any information regarding Virginias weight, but given that its likely she suffered from intermittent weight loss and anorexia tied to (what we would probably today diagnose as) her bipolar and anxiety disorders, she most likely would have had a BMI of, say, (and Im guesstimating here) approximately seventeen. Its also reasonably to assume, reading her suicide note which details auditory hallucinations and psychoses likely brought on by manic depression and starvation, she would have been quite light at the time of her suicide. We can reverse-calculate her weight at time of her decease, then, if we know her height (which is of course equally hard to find). Theres a (likely apocryphal) story where a group of groupies pinned her down in the corner of a library somewhere and attempted to measure her. They were unfortunately unprepared for the measurement, and as it transpired they only had a single yardstick between them, they were forced to conclude only that she was at least three feet tall. Perhaps we might attempt to figure out her height another way. This photo, taken when six Bloomsbury authors snuck onto HMS Dreadnought masquerading as Abbyssinian princesfake beards and all in 1910. Horace de Vere Cole orchestrated the prank, and the group is photographed in quasi-authentic garb, see right. Horace is far right, Virginia far left. Given that Horaces height is a stately six foot even, we could surmise that her stature is perhaps three inches shorter, accounting for various top hat/turban discrepancies. For a woman of her build, a height of 5 9 gives a rough estimate of 115 lbs, or 52 kg. Now to floatier matters. The Ouse near her house, about 55km from the mouth of the Humber, is fairly brackish and has a salinity content of 30 parts per thousand, or a density of 1.03 kilos per liter. Human flesh is not that much more dense than the water (about 1.06 g/cm ). Buoyancy in humans is due to the air inside the lungs. If Virginia was holding her breath, shed most likely have a total capacity of 5 litres of air, with a weight of 6.38 grams. Her total density, then, would be about .92 g/ cc, and her total volume is (55000 g) / (.92 g/cc) = 59.78 litres (this is a rough and quick estimate based on general density of other humans and a bit of number fudging). To find the point where Virginia was heavy enough to sink in the Ouse, we need to solve for the following Archimedian inequality:

We need to know the density of the kind of stones she used. Lets assume Sussex alluvial sediment with a density of 6.7 g/cc. Let represent the weight of the stones in grams: Solving for , she needed over seven kilos of stones. Thats a lotta pebbles. Lets say the pebbles in her pocket had an average volume of 12 cubic centimeters, a fair estimate. How many pebbles?

It must have taken about 100 pebbles to sink a state

calculation Rory J. Gilchrist, March 2014