John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
hat’s the best way to weigh your own head?
Self-decapitation? Are yousure?A severed head has lessthan ﬁve seconds of conscious-ness left, so you wouldn’t havemuch time to enjoy the resultsof your experiment.Resting your head on thebathroom scale is anotheridea, but it’s very inaccurate:your neck would still be sup-porting some of the weight.The simplest way is to stick your head in a bucket.The density of most people’s heads is very close to that of water. Put a bucket in a large tray, ﬁll it to the brim with water,and then dunk your head in it. Weighing the water that spillsover into the tray will give you a fairly good approximation of theweight of your head.For an encore, you can repeat the experiment with your wholebody, using larger containers. You can then compare the amountof water displaced by your head to the amount displaced by yourwhole body, and work out what fraction of your total body weightyour head is.To ensure 100 percent accuracy, though, what you really needis a CT scan.Computed Tomography (CT) scanners use X-rays to producean extensive series of images of objects in cross-section. (Tomog-raphy is Greek for “writing in slices.”) The information can beused to analyze any part of the human body and determine theexact density at each point within it. From this, a SAM—or SpeciﬁcAnthropomorphic Mannequin—can be generated: a 3-D computer