Measuring the Speed of Light

So this is a more advanced project… and one that takes patience.  There is an easy way and a hard way to do this project.  I particularly like the hard way better, because there’s more observational science involved and less mathematics.  But let’s start with the easy way first.

Easy Method for Measuring the Speed of Light In a transparent tupperware, make a batch of clear gelatin (like jell-o) and let it harden.  Skimp on the water so the mixture is very firm.  When ready, take it out of the fridge and shine a laser beam through the side of the tupperware… you’ll see the beam ‘bend’.  Carefully measure the angles of incidence and refraction and use Snell’s law to back-calculate the speed of light.

For reference, the index of refraction for ice is 1.31; for water at 20 deg. C is 1.33; for diamond it’s 2.42; for plexiglass it’s 1.51.  For your measurement to be completely accurate, you’ll need to remove the tupperware and measure it for the gelatin.

…to be continued…

1 Comment

  1. Kelly Brown Said,

    June 12, 2009 @ 10:51 am

    Hi, gr8 post thanks for posting. Information is useful!