Why Morgan Freeman’s Voice Sounds Funny After He Inhales Helium (Video)

morgan-freeman-helium

Morgan Freeman’s voice, as anyone who has seen his movies would agree, is capable of making even the most depressed or anxious people feel that everything will be alright. And that’s why he is one of the best actors who can play God.

But suck in a bit of Helium and everything changes. It appears like Morgan Freeman is also best suited to play Donald Duck. Check out the video below.

So, why does Helium make Morgan Freeman’s voice sound funny? It’s because sound waves travel through Helium faster because the gas is lighter than air. When you inhale Helium, the molecules of the gas will replace air in your vocal tract. This will result in the increase of the speed of the sound of your voice. Sucking in Helium will change the timbre and you get a Donald Duck-ish voice. Click here if you are interested in knowing more about this effect of Helium.

And what do you think about Morgan Freeman’s new voice? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Posted in: Science, Videos

3 Comments

  1. Carol A Pearsall says:

    Are you kidding? While this is cute…it is very dangerous. The operable phrase is “the gas will replace air in your vocal tract”! Inhaling too much, and believe me there are young people out there who will do this, can cause death.

    From Columbia Health’s “Ask Alice” project:

    “Breathing in pure helium can be risky because it displaces necessary oxygen (as breathing in any gas besides or not mixed with oxygen would do). In other words, since bodies need oxygen, but are getting pure helium instead, the result is suffocation. One breath of pure helium can cause hypoxia (a deficiency of oxygen reaching the body’s tissues) and result in dizziness. The next real breath of (oxygenated) air will allow everything to return to normal. That breath will happen automatically once the air from speaking (in a cartoon duck’s voice) is expended. If anyone is going to inhale helium this way, it might be wiser to do so while sitting down; that way, if the person becomes dizzy, s/he won’t fall and possibly get hurt.

    Inhaling continuous breaths of helium one after another starves the body of oxygen. A person will eventually pass out, and perhaps even worse. At most, inhaling once or twice from a helium balloon, separated by deep inhalations of air, will be a way to prevent the harm.

    Breathing in helium (or any other gas) from a pressurized tank, as opposed to from a balloon, is dangerous. Inhaling pressurized gas creates the possibility of rupturing a lung or creating an air embolism (gas bubbles in the blood that can cause seizures). In this case, it is not necessarily the helium that is dangerous, but the pressure of the gas itself. Breathing in pressurized oxygen would be just as dangerous.”

  2. Steve says:

    I wonder what he’d sound like on sulfur hexafluoride? That may sound deadly, but the the tight bond between sulfur and fluorine makes the gas rather inert and safe to inhale for one breath. As with helium, it’s like not breathing for the same time. SF6 is much denser than air, giving the reverse of the Mickey Mouse effect.

  3. nikhil says:

    Haha.. Hilarious

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