Everybody Jump!

Many people have probably heard the question of "What would happen if everybody on Earth came to the same place and all jumped at the same time?" Why is this a legitimate concern? When searching "What if" on Google this questions is still one of the first suggestions. I was browsing Stumble Upon, a great website for blog ideas, when I came across the answer... billions would die.

If everyone on Earth came together, standing shoulder to shoulder, it is estimated that they would fill a space roughly the size of Rhode Island. So lets just say the whole world came to Rhode Island for this highly anticipated event. Even though it is very unlikely lets say there was a countdown and everyone  jumped in sync. When looking at the physics of the "great jump" we can estimate that the Earth has 7 billion people weighing an average 50kg each and can jump .3 meters on average, the Earth's mass is 6x10^24, gravity is 9.8N/kg, and the sun and moon's interaction is ignored.

All of these numbers could be debated, but the fact is that it wouldn't make a difference anyways because the change would still be so minuscule due to how much greater the Earth's mass is that the impact would be difficult to even measure. The Earth would remain on its axis and remain the same. Where trouble would arise is having everyone is in Rhode Island... 

This may seem ridiculous but to test this hypothesis with an actual jump would require everyone to be together. Getting out of Rhode Island, or really any central location, would be chaos. Even if they were to maximized their efficiency, sending people out on cars, trains, barges, and airplanes it would still be impossible to get everyone out. Billions would die of starvation and the survivors would struggle to reestablish society.

 For this reason and the fact that you would never be able to get everyone in an area the size of Rhode Island to begin with, makes this idea one of the few untestable hypotheses that Andrew talked  about. We'll have to trust the physicists on this one and accept that nothing would happen.

Is this really untestable? Can anybody think of a way to test this without having everyone on Earth come to one place?


I agree that this is completely untestable, as it would be pretty hard to gather every single person on the planet. I can't think of a plausible way to test this, either, as obtaining some object the size of Rhode Island and weighing as much as all the humans sounds like it would have a lot of issues and a lot controversy

Considering there are 7 billion people on this earth and many people are already starting to label it as "over-populated" I really doubt there would be a good efficient way to test this. Assuming the average person is around 1 foot wide, the widest possible solution would be to line everyone up single file covering 7 billion feet of the earth. That's such a big space and not dense enough that I doubt the earth would be affected. Of course, that's not the most efficient way to minimize the surface area covered by everyone on earth. If you were to make a perfect square of everyone on earth it would be around 3.5 billion feet x 3.5 billion feet which would equate to some ridiculous surface area that probably wouldn't be dense enough to affect the Earth's surface so I can't really imagine a way in which this would be testable.

It's definitely untestable - there's just no way everyone in the world would be able to come together in one place at one time. I think the most we can do is predict what *would* happen by considering the various factors you outlined in your post (the average weight, the consequences of being in a highly populated area during a chaotic event, etc).

I think some would say this is a pointless question to even ask, a statement which I absolutely do not agree with. Asking questions like this makes us think critically, sparks creative thought, and can even help us understand the world a little better.

I thought about this for a long time and only came up with one plausible test. By taking population samples and finding the average force from compact jumps of smaller groups of people we could come up with the average force applied per person. Using this information and multiplying it by the Earths population could provide enough information to allow scientists to create an explosive that would mimic the results applying the same force per square foot that a group of nearly 7 billion people could produce in an area the size of Rhode Island. This would probably be the most accurate way to test this theory but would still be an underestimate because the weight of the 7 billion people would still be relatively dispersed around the world.

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