Measuring the Speed of Light with Marshmallows

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Place a plate with a single layer of marshmallows in a turntable-free microwave, and zap it until some of them just begin to melt. Measure the distance in centimeters between melt spots; it should be roughly 6 cm. Next, find a sign with the frequency of the microwave, usually 2450 MHz. With these two pieces of data, the speed of light can be calculated, via Velocity = Frequency × Wavelength. Chocolate chips or another substance which melts nicely may be substituted.

Contributed by: Ed Pegg Jr (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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