Physicists talk turkey
Looking for some help with cooking your Thanksgiving feast this holiday? Here are a couple of ways that particle physics can lend a hand.
Not sure how long to cook your turkey? Take some advice from SLAC Director Emeritus Pief Panofsky and use the equation he derived for the holiday: 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.
If a Butterball turkey will take the spotlight on your table, you have particle accelerators to thank for its freshness. The food industry uses particle accelerators to produce the sturdy, heat-shrinkable film that Butterballs come wrapped in. When a beam of electrons from a particle accelerator hits the plastic wrapping, it causes a chemical reaction that makes the film super strong and heat resistant. The food industry purchases the treated shrink wrap from plastic manufacturers in the form of bags or rolls. A turkey gets placed inside, and voila, a fresh meal will soon grace your Thanksgiving table.
From all of us at symmetry magazine, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!