Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Using Leftover Valentine's Day Candy To Measure The Speed Of Light

Here's a creative thing to do with leftover candy from Valentine's Day - use it and your microwave to measure the speed of light! :)

Well, actually, you measure the wavelength of the microwave. Then, using the frequency, you get the speed.

Zz.

3 comments:

Blaise Pascal said...

That's what has always bugged me about this experiment. Do we have a measurement of the frequency of the microwaves in the oven which isn't dependent on the wavelength?

Cavity Magnetrons use their size to determine their resonant frequency, so it seems likely that it's really picking a resonant wavelength, and if c were different the same size magnetron would yield a different frequencey.

Anonymous said...

Well I don't know about all that... but I prefer the version of this experiment that uses the less tasty and more fun marshmallows! This seems like a waste of chocolate :)

Bradley said...

This doesn't work with all ovens. I tried it myself once with marshmallows in my kitchen, and the burn pattern was a seemingly amorphous hodgepodge. I looked into it and found that some of the better ovens have spinning reflectors inside their ceilings to scatter the radiation. There's no standing wave pattern.