Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Puzzle's solution.

I didn't know that a microwave oven could be used to determine the speed of light till last Saturday when I went to the Perimeter Institute (PI)'s weekly Black Hole Sessions. I always learned something new and interesting at these sessions. The seminar room on the PI's 4th floor proved to be small for the physics enthusiasts that had the scientific curiosity to take a journey through the world of Einstein's special relativity theory. Late comers were unfortunate as any free standing spot was already taken. The room's doors had to be left open so that they can watch from there.

Damian Pope, the new PI's Director of Scientific Outreach, started the presentation with a live demonstration of the use of the microwave to determine light's speed. He microwaved the chocolate bar on a dish for few seconds. The audience was assigned to say when it sees the first signs of chocolate melting. By the way, if you didn't know Percy Spencer discovered by accident that microwaves could be used to cook, when a chocolate bar melted in his pocket while he was working to built radars.


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