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May 5, 2004

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Because Really, Who Has a Toothed Wheel These Days?

Back in the day, you needed some pretty serious gear to measure the speed of light:

[Fizeau] shone a light between the teeth of a rapidly rotating toothed wheel. A mirror reflected the beam back between the same gap between the teeth of the wheel.

There were over a hundred teeth in the wheel. The wheel rotated at hundreds of times a second — therefore thousandths of a second was easy to measure. Light was reflected from mirrors more than 5 miles apart. This also helped him making accurate measurements.

(That’s from what-is-the-speed-of-light.com, your one-stop shop for speed-of-light related inquiries.)

Nowadays it’s much easier: All you need is a microwave.

(Link via Boing Boing.)

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Posted May 5, 2004 at 10:20 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Technosnark
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