Brown Bag Lab Lunch Series


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Reviews of Unwise Microwave Oven Experiments:

  • Gregory Nathaniel Heasley

    I have only one word to describe this: awesome! It represents everything I wish I could have done as a kid, but wasn't allowed to do. I thought all the experiments were extremely interesting and possibly... life-changing? From tracing the microwave patterns to creating pumice from obsidian it was an eye opening experience. Of particular interest was the fact that you can drill a hole into the microwave and inject gases. to me it sounds like one big expensive and inefficient lightbulb, but hey who am I to argue with science.

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  • Diana P Ayala

    His presentation was very entertaining. I thought it was different in compairson to the other presentations we have seen so far. He showed of what would happen if you stick things into the microwave for example, cd, light bulb, beer bottle. To demonstrate how its involve with science. I thought his presentation was exciting that it makes me want to learn more about what other things could be put in the microwave.

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  • Eithon Michael Cadag

    Wow, this presentation was pretty crazy :-P
    I don't know what applications one can draw to design or computing, but it was interesting nonetheless to see a microwave melt rocks. I was actually a little surprised the speaker didn't mind getting so close to the microwave - I've always thought that its good to keep a safe distance from them when they're in operation, or you might go infertile or something.
    I should probably stop by Boeing surplus and pick up one of those quarter-squishers haha.
    Very engaging discussion, overall, and I definitely learned a bit about physics and the basic sciences. I just wonder if that microwave is food-safe now....

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  • Ann Marie Sager

    Though I don't know where it ties in to architecture, design, or construction, this presentation was a lot of fun! I took some of the fax paper home and shared his website with my s.o., who was horrified and fascinated by all of the descriptions and warnings.
    I'd really like to try the carbonized candle experiment at was beautiful!
    I am somewhat surprised at the short list of microwave experiments. It seems like the list would be added to every week!
    He reminded me of an amateur magician. Thanks for the entertainment!

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  • Rosanne Weiling Chien

    This was a very fun and entertaining presentation. Just to add to other microwave things to do (though I have never done it): one can make record bowls using those old antique records from way back when. Just put it on top of a regular bowl, and the microwave will melt the record into the shape of your bowl. Granted that all of these presentations were interesting, I am still concern about the safety of them. Though I do not think it is possible to make them safer, I am sure there are ways to make them safer. I knew that a microwave had hot spots. But wouldn’t it be fun (and kind of nerdy) to outline your entire microwave’s hotspots and then make a three dimensional model of it – an “architectural” standpoint of using this information. Then you can use it to your benefit and heat food more efficiently. This talk is great because it intrigues your curiosity to figure out what else you can do with a microwave. And what other appliances can we use in strange, yet fun ways. But of course, for me, everything boils down to safety. I’d rather watch than actually perform. Of course, watching this presentation can be painful to our eyes since there were many instances of “bright lights”. Gee, I wonder how my eyes are doing now.

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  • Julie Dawn Pravitz

    "Unwise" is the keyword in this presentation's title. Yikes! As long as he knows what he's doing.

    I learned more about my microwave and about what NOT to put in it than I thought I'd ever know. The whole "hot spot" thing was new to me. It makes sense now that I think back about cooking in the microwave though.

    The presentation was definately entertaining! I actually learned a lot about the physics of microwaves. I think my favorite experient was the carbon on the lit candle wick... how it shot up pulses of flames up onto the top of the microwave's enclosure. I had experienced the "past the point of boiling" water experiment myself. I had boiled a cup of water too long and when I took it out of the microwave and set it on the countertop it started bubbling all over from the tap.

    I thought the presentation of everything was open, informal, and fun. Although at times I didn't know if I should hold my breath or not from the fumes.

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  • Scott Brandon McDonald

    Most of the experiments were pretty neat. I dont think it matters if it relates to any other topics. Sometimes us architect students need to see what the other disciplines have to offer (not that I would call microwave experiments a discipline). It certainly was entertaining. The lightening was probably the most impressive one.

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  • John Hilgeman

    Well, I am disappointed that I missed that one. I read the web site and it sounded great. I don't think my wife will let me do any of the experiments at home, but there is a micro across from the coffee shop...
    Seems like it could have implications for a new art form in the realm of light and materials.
    I can't help but be reminded of my pubescent explorations of chemicals and tools that I found around the house. I think lots of kids like to mix household chemicals, play with fire, and all sorts of dangerous things that usually leave some burnt fingers or melted plastic. I feel that, commendably, Bill has not lost his enthusiasm for this pasttime. I feel inspired.

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  • John Christopher Mayfield

    Well, this was certainly an entertaining presentation. I was pretty amazed to learn all the spectacular stuff can be done with an ordinary microwave. I was particularly impressed by the candle and toothpicks demonstration. Against my better judgement, I'm going to have to try that one at home.

    Besides providing us with a lightshow, the presentation was also rather informative. I learned a great deal about the basic functioning of a microwave. What microwaves are, how they are produced, what they can heat, and why.

    I'd definately consider attending the Weird Science Salon. I'm not sure how much I can contribute, but I might try going just as a spectator.

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  • Ethan Hilleary Whitesell

    This was definetely a different kind of presentation. I am not sure how it fits in with the 'Design' or the 'Computing' aspects of this forum, but it was certainly entertaining and fun to watch. This is something I wish I would have had in elementary school for science. I can easily see how this can relate to kids to educate them about science.

    I never knew you could do such things in a microwave. I once put some food in a microwave and forgot to take the foil off. It started sparking and left a burn mark on the inside of the microwave. That is nothing compared to what can happen in a microwave when you become a little less paranoid and a little more unwise.

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