Does Microwaving food make it Radioactive?


Stage, camera holder, beaker, Minipix-EDU


  1. Launch the Pixet Basic software and modify settings to the following:
    1. Min Level: 0
    2. Max Level: 100
    3. Measurement Mode: Tracking
    4. Frames: 1800
    5. Exposure: 1 s
    6. Sum: check
    7. Color Map: Hot
  2. Mount the MiniPix EDU camera and click on the play button to collect background radiation. Collect two such datasets.
  3. Now microwave water for 5 minutes in a beaker and put it on the platform, as shown in figure 1.

    Figure 1. The beaker filled with microwaved water, placed onto the platform.

  4. Making sure the water in the beaker is at least reaching the height of the sensor, start the scan. Collect two datasets of this as well.


  1. We observe muons, alpha, beta, and gamma particles in our background radiation scan, as shown in figure 2 and figure 3.

    Figure 2. Dataset 1 of background radiation with a total energy of 67288 keV

    Figure 3. Dataset 2 of background radiation with a total energy of 59550 keV

  2. The remaining two datasets collected with microwaved water on the platform give similar results (Fig. 4 and 5).

    Figure 4. Dataset 1 of radiation from microwaved water with a total energy of 52127 keV

    Figure 5. Dataset 2 of radiation from microwaved water with a total energy of 65059keV


  1. The total energy is within the range of 50,000 keV to 70,000 keV, with or without microwaved water on the platform. Thus we can conclude that microwaving the water did not ionize it.
  2. The total energy of background radiation depends on the type of radiation observed. Sometimes you may observe higher total energy because of the presence of high energy muons and alpha particles.

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