The Panofsky turkey constant
Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, Nicholas Panofsky shares a flavorful tidbit of Panofsky family lore.
"There was a point in time when my grandfather [SLAC Director Emeritus] WKH 'Pief' Panofsky was not satisfied with the cooking times for turkeys of '30 minutes per pound'," Panofsky wrote. "This is of course reasonable, because the time a turkey should be cooked is not a linear equation."
So Pief Panofsky derived an equation based on the ratio between the surface area and mass of a turkey. Cooking time for a stuffed turkey in a 325 °F oven is given by
t = W(2/3)/1.5
where t is the cooking time in hours and W is the weight of the stuffed turkey, in pounds. The constant 1.5 was determined empirically.
This story first appeared in SLAC Today.