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?
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