# The Statistics of Microwave Popcorn

Physics for the Birds2023-02-23

745K views|1 years ago

ðŸ’« Short Summary

The video explores the science behind popcorn popping, focusing on the process of kernel expansion, the different shapes of popped kernels, and the factors affecting popping time. It also discusses the similarities between popcorn popping sounds and gravitational waves, as well as the use of convolution to analyze popping patterns. Theoretical analysis suggests that manual monitoring is crucial for achieving perfectly popped popcorn without burning.

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ðŸ“Š Transcript

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The science behind microwaving popcorn.

01:21The hard shell of the kernel holds back water, creating pressure until it cracks open and releases steam.

Starch briefly turns into a gel to hold the kernel together as it expands, then dries out, leaving microscopic pockets for a fluffy texture.

Popcorn kernels can pop into two shapes: mushrooms and butterflies, each with distinct characteristics.

Different varieties of popcorn have been bred to mostly pop into one shape or the other.

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Importance of popping expansion in the popcorn industry.

02:50Farmers prioritize selectively breeding kernels for expansion, despite conflicting traits like shell strength.

Balancing traits like kernel size and expansion is crucial for breeders to achieve desired quality.

Popcorn companies prefer a mix of poppable and unpoppable kernels for consumer satisfaction.

Factors like shell strength, volume, and moisture content affect popping time in popcorn kernels.

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Analysis of dice rolling and popcorn popping sounds to detect patterns.

05:40Bell curve pattern observed in the distribution of numbers when rolling multiple dice.

Similarities found between popcorn popping sound and gravitational waves from black holes merging.

Algorithms used to process years worth of data to detect wave patterns.

Simplifying analysis by drawing a line to identify pops deemed more effective than complex algorithms.

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Methodology for predicting kernel popping using convolution.

09:08Sliding one signal over the other and multiplying and adding numbers helps find times kernels pop.

Histogram plotted and curve of best fit estimated distribution of popped kernels.

Method initially overestimated percentage of popped kernels, improved prediction by adjusting for unpoppable kernels.

Pop frequency as a function of desired percentage popped calculated by finding expected spacing between pops.

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Optimal Popcorn Popping Time Analysis

11:39Theoretical analysis suggests taking out the popcorn when it slows down is best to prevent burning.

The time to wait for optimal popping remains stable despite variations.

Manual monitoring is crucial for perfectly popped popcorn without burning.

Following instructions and listening to popping sounds are key for achieving desired results.

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