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2812 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Aug 2014 at 8:12 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:    more»

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hot chocolate

No, but I knew you could measure the speed of light with marshmallows.

"Mr. Hawking, if I offered you a microwave and a Butterfinger, would you please tell me the speed of light?"

jbc: "Mr. Hawking, if I offered you a microwave and a Butterfinger, would you please tell me the speed of light?"

You'd make a great engineer.

All you need is a watermelon and two jelly donuts... no, wait, that's something else.

Trust me, bro. I've measured the speed of light with less. Hurry up!

I prefer to make Vitis vinifera type electroplasma using a microwave.

That's pretty awesome.

Yeah, for about 15 years when the first of these articles came out.

Ok well it was tough to hold the ruler in the microwave without my hands getting the fark burned out of them.

I do not suggest anyone else trying this experiment.

Why use your microwave as a laboratory when you can use it as a gladiator's arena?

No, but you can measure the speed of stink by pulling my finger.

Same general method, I once estimated the speed of light from the length of a cell-phone's antenna.

So, according to that dude, twice .06 meters is not .12 meters.

This is not measuring the speed of light.

This is measuring the wavelength of a microwave. "Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter, or equivalently, with frequencies between 300 MHz (0.3 GHz) and 300 GHz."

This isn't measuring the speed of light, it's measuring the accuracy of your ruler measurement. The speed of light is a constant. The frequency used was taken right off the back of the microwave. Dividing the one by the other should give you how far apart the gooey bits of chocolate should be. Now, what if you don't have real chocolate and have to use a Hershey bar instead?

doglover: This is not measuring the speed of light.

Hrm? If the speed of light was not know, this technique would give you a measurement to within a couple percent. How is that not a measurement? The frequency is determined by the electronics, and the wavelength is measured. The wavelength times frequency is equal to the wave speed.

Actually, yes, although I prefer Velveeta "cheese" instead of chocolate.

/srsly
/also, this was covered long time ago
/full disclosure: I got it from Dara O Briain's Science Club

DeltaPunch: How is that not a measurement?

Because you are just calculating c based on the unknown frequency of the magnetron printed on the back of the machine. If that's not accurate, the whole thing falls appart.

Or, if there was some kind of event that changed physics, and c changed also, then this method would not be able to show you that at all. You are in no way directly observing light's speed. All you are doing is finding the wavelength of the microwave radiation itself for that particular coil. Everything else is estimation based on math and hearsay in the form of a tag on the back.

DeltaPunch: doglover: This is not measuring the speed of light.

Hrm? If the speed of light was not know, this technique would give you a measurement to within a couple percent. How is that not a measurement? The frequency is determined by the electronics, and the wavelength is measured. The wavelength times frequency is equal to the wave speed.

It's calculating the speed of light by measuring something else.

If somebody said that the speed of sound was 10w X 2f where w equals the weight of my neighbor lady and f equals the number of times I want to bang her today, and I went over to her house and weighed her and then multiplied it by 3, the resulting number would not be a measurement of the speed of sound.  It would be the calculation of the speed of sound.

Why would you want too? We already know the speed of ilght

doglover: This is not measuring the speed of light.

This is measuring the wavelength of a microwave. "Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter, or equivalently, with frequencies between 300 MHz (0.3 GHz) and 300 GHz."

DigitalCoffee: This isn't measuring the speed of light, it's measuring the accuracy of your ruler measurement. The speed of light is a constant. The frequency used was taken right off the back of the microwave. Dividing the one by the other should give you how far apart the gooey bits of chocolate should be. Now, what if you don't have real chocolate and have to use a Hershey bar instead?

If you want to be pedantic about it, and since this if Fark, we will be -- you're measuring the wavelength of the radiation. Since the frequency of the radiation is given on the microwave, you can then calculate the speed of light because c=λ*ν. However, most scienctitions will agree that the secondary calculation is also a measurement since you cannot directly measure the speed of light -- for example, hold a stopwatch and see how long a photon takes to run the Boston Marathon. You have to measure it in an indirect manner -- and the equation that you use is valid for the motion of any wave, not just light, so you can't even argue that there's some sort of circular conclusion going on.

Donnchadha: doglover: This is not measuring the speed of light.

This is measuring the wavelength of a microwave. "Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter, or equivalently, with frequencies between 300 MHz (0.3 GHz) and 300 GHz."

DigitalCoffee: This isn't measuring the speed of light, it's measuring the accuracy of your ruler measurement. The speed of light is a constant. The frequency used was taken right off the back of the microwave. Dividing the one by the other should give you how far apart the gooey bits of chocolate should be. Now, what if you don't have real chocolate and have to use a Hershey bar instead?

If you want to be pedantic about it, and since this if Fark, we will be -- you're measuring the wavelength of the radiation. Since the frequency of the radiation is given on the microwave, you can then calculate the speed of light because c=λ*ν. However, most scienctitions will agree that the secondary calculation is also a measurement since you cannot directly measure the speed of light -- for example, hold a stopwatch and see how long a photon takes to run the Boston Marathon. You have to measure it in an indirect manner -- and the equation that you use is valid for the motion of any wave, not just light, so you can't even argue that there's some sort of circular conclusion going on.

There are quite a few ways to directly measure the speed of light using equipment available to the layman. They involve long distances so they're hard to set up.

doglover: Because you are just calculating c based on the unknown frequency of the magnetron printed on the back of the machine. If that's not accurate, the whole thing falls appart.

Then get an oscilloscope.

Oh good lord, this is high school physics.

V=f (lambda)

V= C, or the speed of light, 186,000 miles/second
f= frequency, listed on the microwave
lambda= wavelength, found by measuring after nuking the chocolate bar

Hint: Microwave energy travels at the speed of light.

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