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A chocolate in a microwave allows you to measure the speed of light

A chocolate in a microwave allows you to measure the speed of light

Sep 212020

The author of the publication, a doctoral student in astrophysics, also recalled that the same phenomenon explains why food remains cold in parts after going through the microwave.

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A doctoral student in astrophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) shared via Twitter a simple method to measure the speed of light with the help of a chocolate bar and a microwave oven.

To do this, it is first necessary to remove the turntable from the appliance, then place the treat inside and heat it until the chocolate begins to melt.

The author of the publication, David Berardo, explained that the trick works thanks to standing waves, that is, those that are formed by the interference of two waves of the same type, with the same amplitude and frequency, that advance in the opposite direction, such and how it happens in a microwave.

 

"If you remove the turntable, the standing wave will heat certain points in the chocolate, at half the wavelength," Berardo wrote.

He adds that to calculate the speed of light - with an accuracy of 98% - it is enough to measure the distance between the heated points on the surface of the chocolate (6 centimeters), double that value to obtain the wavelength and multiply the result by the microwave frequency (2450 Megahertz or 2,450,000,000 ripples per second), a figure that is indicated on the front of the device.

In this way, he obtained 2.95 x 10 ^ 8 meters per second (m / s), a value effectively close to 3 x 10 ^ 8 m / s, the value approaching the speed of light. In modern physics, this constant is attributed to the propagation in a vacuum of all electromagnetic radiation, including visible light.

Finally, the university student recalled, as a joke, that due to this same physical phenomenon, food sometimes remains cold in some parts after heating it in the microwave.
 

A chocolate in a microwave allows you to measure the speed of light

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