The Strength of an Ordinary Egg and Piano Technique

July 21st, 2008

October 31, 2000: Testing the Strength of an Ordinary Egg

“Everybody knows how easy it is to break an egg, because of its very thin shell. Today our young scientists learned that an egg can also be very strong. Nature made it to be both light and strong, so that it can withstand the impact of falling to the ground when the egg is laid.

‘We talked about the properties of an egg: it is round, light, smooth and white. The children were asked to hypothesize (make a scientific guess) about the egg’s strength. Is an egg strong and powerful, or weak and fragile?

children study the strength of an egg

  • five students said the egg was strong and powerful
  • eleven students said the egg was weak and fragile.

Children Studying an Ordinary Egg #2

‘To find out the answer to our question, we carefully placed the uncooked, ordinary egg in some soft clay. Using the egg and the two blocks of wood, we made a triangular base to support a large, lightweight cookie sheet.

Adding Books to Exert Weight on the Egg

‘We slowly added books, one by one, to see how much weight the egg could help support. Excitement was building as each book was placed on the stack.

‘In the end, we found the egg to support sixty-six books: over twenty pounds! Why didn’t the egg break sooner? The egg has an arch at each end, an excellent structure for supporting weight.”

66 Books!!!

Even an egg has its limits…

You may be wondering why I posted this at a piano technique blog. It’s because of a similar segment in my film where I liken the hand’s arch structure to the light, tensile strength of a geodesic dome… or an egg. The only difference is that in this student demonstration they don’t show what happened when they put the 67th book; in my film, I do show what happens when the structure finally collapses!


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