The science behind the ice in Disney's Frozen

August 1, 2014
The Norwegian fjord known as Nærøyfjord served as inspiration for the fictional Arendelle, setting for the 2013 Disney hit Frozen. Credit: SAMULI LINTULA

How much power does Elsa really have? According to Aaron Goldberg, quite a lot.

The Integrated Science Student analyzed the 2013 Disney musical Frozen, in which Snow Queen Elsa accidentally freezes the Kingdom of Arendelle.

Goldberg wanted to find out just how much power it would take to pull off such a feat.

The story is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale and Arendelle was inspired by the Norwegian fjord known as Nærøyfjord.

In a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, Goldberg worked out Nærøyfjord's total surface area and estimated the density of the ice covering it. That allowed him to determine the mass of ice that covered Arendelle, which he pegged at 99,043,217,000,000 grams.

He then suggests the use of a Carnot refrigerator—which harnesses work to drive a between to reservoirs—to unleash the theoretical powers.

Goldberg estimates the work required by a Carnot refrigerator to freeze the entirety of the fjord to be 5,800,000,000,000,000 Joules.

To put things in perspective, that's the same amount of energy released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during the Second World War—115 times over.

"This immense number puts Elsa's into perspective," writes Goldberg. "implying either that the Snow Queen has enormous strength, or that Disney underestimated the ramifications of their animated fantasy."

Goldberg will enter his third year at McMaster in September.

Explore further: Rube Goldberg machine shatters Guinness world record, destroys planet

More information: The complete paper is available online: www.physics.le.ac.uk/jist/index.php/JIST/article/view/46/32

Related Stories

Scientists sniff out possible new tick species

October 1, 2013

In June 2012, Tony Goldberg returned from one of his frequent trips to Kibale National Park, an almost 500-square-mile forest in western Uganda where he studies how infectious diseases spread and evolve in the wild. But he ...

Recommended for you

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes

July 28, 2015

The term "plasmons" might sound like something from the soon-to-be-released new Star Wars movie, but the effects of plasmons have been known about for centuries. Plasmons are collective oscillations of conduction electrons ...

'Expansion entropy': A new litmus test for chaos?

July 28, 2015

Can the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? This intriguing hypothetical scenario, commonly called "the butterfly effect," has come to embody the popular conception of a chaotic system, in which ...

Lobster-Eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions

July 28, 2015

Solar winds are known for powering dangerous space weather events near Earth, which, in turn, endangers space assets. So a large interdisciplinary group of researchers, led by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.