21st Century Learning
Use Chocolate to Do Science!

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With Valentine’s coming up, most of us are getting ready for the deluge of chocolate that will be coming our way. And with Christmas chocolate still hanging out looking like it will never leave, you probably have more chocolate than you know what to do with. Right?

Fortunately, the Geekdad side of Wired has a neat article on using chocolate  to measure the speed of light.

As Geekdad explains:

The demonstration works because microwave ovens produce standing waves — waves that move “up” and “down” in place, instead of rolling forward like waves in the ocean. Microwave radiation falls into the radio section of the electromagnetic spectrum. Most ovens produce waves with a frequency of 2,450 megahertz (millions of cycles per second). The oven is designed to be just the right size to cause the microwaves to reflect off the walls so that the peaks and valleys line up perfectly, creating “hot spots” (actually, lines of heat).
What you do with the candy is to find the hot spots and measure the distance between them. From that information, you can determine the wavelength. And when you multiply the wavelength by the frequency, you get the speed!

Check out the rest of the article and how to actually do the experiment here.