Could screams power Britain?

Posted by ap507 at Jul 22, 2015 12:58 PM |
University of Leicester student examines if Monsters, Inc. scream power could meet the UK’s energy requirements

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 22 July 2015     

  • Student study inspired by Disney and Pixar film Monsters, Inc. calculates that scream power could theoretically power the country – although everyone would need to scream 2,800,000,000 times a day
  • The study is presented in a paper for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science, a journal run by University of Leicester students focusing on original topics
  • Pixar’s latest animated feature film Inside Out is released in UK cinemas on Friday 24 July

Screams extracted from the population of Britain, as seen in the Disney and Pixar film Monsters, Inc,. could theoretically be used to generate enough energy to power the country, according to students from the University of Leicester.

However, the sizeable energy requirements of the UK would need everyone in the country to scream 2,800,000,000 times a day at the highest volume humanly possible (129 dB) – surely leading to many hoarse throats. 

The study was inspired by the Disney and Pixar animated film Monsters, Inc., where main characters Mike Wazowski and Sulley use a ‘Scream Extractor’ to collect the screams of human children to supply energy to their hometown, Monstropolis.

University of Leicester student Osarenkhoe Uwuigbe applied this concept to the entire population of Britain, assessing the viability of screams as a power source.

By multiplying the average person’s daily energy usage in Britain (125 kWh) by the recorded population (around 64.1 million at the time of the study), the student came up with a rough estimate of the amount of energy needed to meet Britain’s requirements.

The study found that in order to meet the requirements, every person in Britain would need to scream 2,800,000,000 times a day, assuming each scream could last for 2 seconds and that every person could scream at the highest volume possible for a human (129 dB).

Powering the entire country through scream power would therefore only be possible if humans were able to scream at a far higher volume – or if the population of the country increased.

The student presented their findings in a paper for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, a peer-reviewed student journal run by the University of Leicester’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Science. Students from the University of Leicester (UK) and McMaster University (Canada) have contributed to this year’s journal. The student-run journal is designed to give students practical experience of writing, editing, publishing and reviewing scientific papers.

Dr Cheryl Hurkett from the University of Leicester’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Science said: “An important part of being a professional scientist (as well as many other professions) is the ability to make connections between the vast quantity of information students have at their command, and being able to utilise the knowledge and techniques they have previously mastered in a new or novel context.

“The Interdisciplinary Research Journal module models this process, and gives students an opportunity to practise this way of thinking. The intention of this module is to allow students to experience what it’s like to be at the cutting edge of scientific research.

“The course is engaging to students and the publishing process provides them with an invaluable insight into academic publishing. It also helps students feel more confident when submitting future papers. I find it a very rewarding module to teach and I am always pleased to see my students engaging so enthusiastically with the subject. I encourage them to be as creative as possible with their subject choices as long as they can back it up with hard scientific facts, theories and calculations!”


Notes to Editors:

Student Osarenkhoe Uwuigbe is available on

For further information please contact Professor Derek Raine ( and Dr Sarah Gretton (

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