measure the pace of sunshine with a bar of chocolate and your microwave – widespread mechanics

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You can use chocolate, cheese, or even marshmallows in the microwave at the speed of light. Your microwave’s wavelength is listed somewhere, and it’s easy to multiply the rest. Plus, you can still eat the food.

Sometimes science is super easy – and super tasty. A classic science experiment showing how to use your microwave and a bar of chocolate to measure the speed of light goes around and includes easy-to-follow instructions to repeat the test at home.

🔬 You love badass science experiments. We also. Let’s play around together.

Chocolate at the speed of light sounds like a pandemic dream of claustrophobia, but it’s the mechanism that drives this simple experiment forward. If you don’t like chocolate, you can do the experiment with a slice of American cheese. (Even the chocolate or cheese are still good to eat after zapping and measuring.)

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How the Experiment Works Courtesy of David Berardo, Ph.D. Student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. First, take the turntable out of the microwave so you can insert a platter that will stand still while the microwave is running. Then add a chocolate bar or slice of cheese for about 20 seconds, enough to see the effects take shape.

What you will see is a specific melting pattern that indicates the wavelength of the microwaves that power your oven. And if you measure the wavelength and multiply by the microwave frequency, you get a surprisingly accurate approximation of the speed of light.

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Almost all microwaves have the frequency either on the back or in the door. Since waves ricochet off in the microwave, the numbers aren’t accurate – but this isn’t the Fermi Lab either. It’s for fun and you’re likely stuck at home. Open up a Hershey bar or Kraft single and do some science.

The best countertop microwaves

BEST OVERALL

Panasonic microwave oven

Panasonic makes everything from televisions to electric shavers. However, with over 2,000 positive reviews, the company can also make a great microwave. Put simply, this 1,250 watt microwave is designed to hit the mark. It has the patented inverter technology and turbo defrosting to distribute the heat evenly and to speed up the defrosting process. As a bonus, the exterior of this stainless steel microwave looks sleek in any kitchen. Good Appetite!

Best smart choice

Amazon Smart Oven

If you’re looking for a microwave that can do it all, the Amazon Smart Oven won’t disappoint. With a digital kitchen clock and several pre-programmed settings, this pick is ideal for heating up leftovers. Because it’s technically a 4-in-1 (microwave, fan oven, food warmer, and air fryer), this option is also great for making toast or whipping up a delicious amount of biscuits. With an included Echo Dot, this microwave is also Alexa-friendly, making it a perfect addition to any “intelligent” home.

Best for small spaces

Commercial Chef Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven

Calling all small room dwellers: add the Commercial Chef microwave to your e-cart. At 17.75 inches wide, this option is small enough to fit on a pint-sized countertop or dorm room. But just because the Commercial Chef microwave is small doesn’t mean it won’t deliver. This durable option has two easy-to-use dials – one for heat and one for time – so you can adjust the settings to suit your dish. (Translation: heating up a cup of pasta has never been easier.)

MOST STYLISH

BLACK + DECKER digital microwave oven

Lovers of interior design will find a lot to love about this BLACK + DECKER microwave. This affordable option comes with a brushed stainless steel design and is easily mistaken for a more expensive high end choice. Fortunately, this microwave isn’t all about style. With a cooking power of 700 watts and 11 pre-programmed settings, this can heat up leftovers and make a delicious amount of popcorn.

BEST BUDGET

AmazonBasics Microwave

While a microwave is one of the most common appliances in any kitchen, it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. This model from AmazonBasics bridges the gap between quality and affordability. This microwave is small enough to fit on your counter. It has a child safety lock, 10 power levels, a turntable and a kitchen timer so that you can heat almost anything. This option is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa system. If you want to make your time in the kitchen a little easier, just sync it with your Echo device.

VERSATILE

Easter French convection oven

If you’re looking for a microwave that can do it all, this Oster device won’t disappoint. With a digital kitchen clock and several pre-programmed settings, this selection is great for heating up leftovers. However, since this is technically a fan oven that is known to disperse heat faster than a traditional oven, this option is also great for making toast or whipping up a delicious amount of biscuits. With a double door system and three shelves, it offers plenty of space for several dishes. Think about the time you will save!

MOST STYLISH

Nostalgic microwave oven

Interior design enthusiasts will appreciate the Nostalgia Electric microwave. As part of the brand’s retro range, this cheery microwave looks great from your favorite 1950s kitchen. This option is adorned with little silver accents and is easily mistaken for a vintage store find – minus any wear and tear on older models. Fortunately, this microwave isn’t all about style. With a cooking power of 800 watts and 12 pre-programmed settings, this can heat up leftovers and make a delicious amount of popcorn.

Interesting technical reports say the experiment dates back to a science education conference in 2004. (For the sake of reasoning, it will be listed on a physics teacher website no later than 1997, based on a published example with marshmallows.)

The inventor of the microwave probably understood to some extent that this was possible because at some point he also decided that the device needed a turntable to evenly distribute heat waves, right?

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