I remember seeing on the Adam & Joe show a bit where they put various things inside a microwave oven, to see what happens. They did the usual sort of stuff - something metal, a compact disc, etc. You've seen it all before, and probably tried it for yourself. One thing they microwaved was different, and somewhat bizarre. It was an ordinary lightbulb, placed upright in a glass of milk!

Tom Bird suggested I try it, so I did.

You know what? It f*****g worked!!!!!

It seems to work by the microwaves ionising the gas inside the glass bulb, judging from the varying colours. I doubt that the milk is important, other than perhaps to absorb excess microwave energy which may otherwise find its way back to the magnetron. I expect that water would do.

The first bulb I tried was very colourful, much like those plasma globes, but it sprang a leak and stopped working before I got any pictures of it. The glass seal must've gone around one of the wires, and the glass bulb filled with milk. I had to go out and buy another bulb :-(

The following pictures were captured by my camcorder, and all link to 704 x 576 JPEGs around 70K in size.

One Happy Shopper 60 Watt light bulb. Only 59p. One glass of milk.

Place light bulb in the glass.

15 Seconds on the timer. Nothing happens for a couple of seconds.

Suddenly, it bursts into life over the following consecutive frames.

Once going, the brightness varies considerably, and the light turns green after 3 or 4 seconds. I expect that the colours would vary with different lightbulbs, due to a different mix of gasses.

And after 15 seconds, I am left with a slightly blackened lightbulb, due to the fact that the fillament has burnt out.

Given that it appears to work by ionising the gasses in the bulb, it ought to work with the energy saving flourescent types. But I'll leave that as an exercise for Tom Bird to try out!

New! Video!

I've finally managed to get my video capture card to capture video (I underclocked it), so I am now proud to present a 45 second MPEG file (1.8 Meg, 240x180). The slight zooming in and out is just the camcorder trying to cope with the wildly varying intensity.

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