Speed of Light
Goal: To determine the speed of light from observed wavelengths for electromagnetic waves of known frequency.
Materials and Procedure
- Follow the instructions at Science Buddies to measure the speed of light in the comfort of your own kitchen.
- NOTE: Popular variations on the method above use miniature marshmallows or chocolate chips evenly spread out on a plate in place of the egg whites. You may find this more interesting and less wasteful.
- Record all measurements and present your data in tabular form.
- Record the frequency of your microwave in Hz.
- Record the observed wavelengths in meters.
- Estimate the error in your wavelength measurements.
- Use the relationship speed = wavelength * frequency to determine the speed of light.
- Analyze the error in your measurements, given the currently accepted value for the speed of light as 2.9998 * 108 meters/second.
- Describe your materials and procedure.
- Include your data, calculations, and any averaging you used.
- Compare your calculated value with the established value for the speed of light. What is your error?
© 2005 - 2019 This course is offered through Scholars Online, a non-profit organization supporting classical Christian education through online courses. Permission to copy course content (lessons and labs) for personal study is granted to students currently or formerly enrolled in the course through Scholars Online. Reproduction for any other purpose, without the express written consent of the author, is prohibited.