A few weeks ago, Obama mentioned his love for Spongebob cartoons at a political rally. Not a surprise, really—who doesn't like watching it? In the spirit of Spongebob's crazy ideas, I wondered how many pineapples it would take to fill the ocean. Thankfully, we've got the tools to be able to answer it (hint: it's the Internet). So let's do it for science, if not for our favourite anthropomorphic sea sponge and his aquatic pineapple house.

First of all, let me make make it clear that we're going to be working with some huge numbers. We'll be using lots of estimates and rounding lots of numbers, but our answer will get us pretty close to the actual quantities.

Let's start by getting the volume of the oceans, which Google helpfully tells me is about 1.37 billion cubic kilometers. The volume of a pineapple is a little harder to measure because of its leafy top, but let's assume the pineapple is in a perfect cylindrical form.

There happens to be an entire book about pineapples, and it tells us that a pineapple is about 10cm in diameter and 30cm in length. Using some geometry, we'll estimate the volume of the pineapple to be about 10,000 cubic centimeters.

At this point, you might want to give up now, because we're going to need to do some unit conversions. Thankfully, Wolfram Alpha is our friend, and it spits out 1.37×10²⁰ pineapples. That's 137 quintillion pineapples, or 137 billion billion of the tropical fruit. 

Let's go deeper

Photo by Pineapples | Unsplash

pineapple on unsplash

Just how much is 137 quintillion? If you had a quintillion pennies, not only would you be very rich, but if you laid them across the surface of the Earth, it would get entirely covered twice. If you wanted to carry 137 quintillion pineapples, well, the average weight of a pineapple is about 1.5 kilograms.

Wolfram Alpha tells us that 137 quintillion pineapples would (only) weigh about 0.1% of the moon. If we decided to divide up our pineapples to every person on Earth, we'd each be stuck with 19.2 billion pineapples per person, which has enough Vitamin C to last each of us 3.622 billion years.