Tech UPTechnologyExperiments: What do light and sound have in common?

Experiments: What do light and sound have in common?

Learn with Miguel Ángel Sabadell what light and sound are: waves. The astrophysicist will measure the speed of light with the help of a microwave and a chocolate bar . In addition, it will explain why some musical notes are sharp and others are low.

We are going to talk about light and sound, they are the two most important means of transmitting information that we use. Practically 100% of all the information we receive from the outside comes to us through light and through sound. We are going to do experiments with them.

Surely you will be amazed if we tell you that you can measure the speed of light with a chocolate bar and a microwave. We are going to heat the chocolate bar in the microwave by placing it on the plate but without the wheels that allow it to rotate. When we open the microwave door, what we see is that the tablet has not completely melted but only in some areas and giving rise to holes. On the other hand, the waves are a succession of valleys and peaks. Well, what interests us is to know the distance between two peaks of the chocolate bar, that is, between the first hole and the last hole and we will measure it with a ruler. It measures approximately 12.5 cm. Another piece of information that we need is the frequency of the microwave, which in this case is 2450 MHz. To know what the speed of light is, we will have to multiply 2450 million MHz by 12.5 and we will obtain 30.625 million centimeters per second or 306.250 km per second.

The oven microwaves are light. Light is a wave. To calculate the speed at which waves move through space we need two things: the frequency of oscillation and the wavelength, which is the distance between two valleys.

The holes that are formed in the chocolate are the result of waves that are formed inside the microwave that are known as standing waves . To explain what standing waves are, Miguel Ángel Sabadell takes as an example a taut rope, which is fastened at two points. Each point on the string vibrates in a unique way and does not change. One end always stays still and the other vibrates with the same amplitude. If we shorten the string and make it vibrate, other standing wave modes will appear. The length of the string decides whether the tone is going to be low or high. The shorter the string, the higher the note will be .

As we can see, standing waves are used to calculate the speed of light and to understand how a bass guitar sounds.

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