What was once just a rhetorical illustration used to demonstrate the futility of out-of-touch theological debates is now a exciting science experiment you can conduct in your very own home!

What you will need:

Instructions: Insert the pin upright into a sturdy surface, such as a pin cushion or Styrofoam block. Begin playing "The Song That Doesn't End (Extended Version)" and instruct the angels to step onto the pin and begin dancing. Count each angel, stopping only when no more angels can dance on the pin, and remembering to make sure all of the angels are dancing on the pin and not just hovering above it, so as to avoid a potential source of error. Repeat several times, removing all angels from the pin after each trial. From these trials, determine the average number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

Additional Exercises:

  • Procure a copy of Maurice Durufle's "Ubi Caritas et Amor" and repeat the experiment. Discuss the effect that music religious in nature has on your results.
  • Does the type of dancing affect the number of angels who can dance? Experiment with such dancing styles as the foxtrot, the Electric Slide, and the clueless male arm flail.
  • Discuss possible sources of error, such as pin imbalance, drunken angels who keep falling off of the pin's head, or angels who won't dance if they don't know the song.

Next week: Does a watched pot ever boil?