Cooking With Bill Nye

• By Melissa Salpietra
• Posted 01.20.09
• NOVA

Watch Bill Nye boil water. Really. In the process, you may learn something about energy conservation that comes in handy next time you make pasta.

Running Time: 02:26

Transcript

Cooking With Bill Nye

Posted January 20, 2009

BILL NYE: So, let's say it's getting to be dinnertime and I'm going to cook some pasta. Now many people cook pasta in an open pot. I mean you got to boil some water, right? Well, we're going to do a little experiment.

Onscreen text: EXPERIMENT: PUT A LID ON IT

BILL NYE: We're going to have two identical pots filled with exactly the same amount of water and we can see from our happy thermometers, they're both at 98 degrees Fahrenheit. But one of the pots we're going to cover with a lid.

Onscreen text: VARIABLE: LID VS. NO LID

BILL NYE: And we'll time it and see which pot boils first.

Onscreen text: HYPOTHESIS?

BILL NYE: Now you might intuitively know that the one with the cover should boil more quickly, but have you ever thought about why? It's because the cover holds in radiant heat. Heat radiates just like light from a light bulb only it's invisible. So, the same thing works in your house. If you insulate the attic, you'll keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

We're at 40 seconds; let's see what happens.

(Bill Nye waits for water to boil.)

Look, it's boiling! Ten minutes, 28 seconds. Almost 29 seconds. This one is at—whoo, it's hot—190 Fahrenheit. Now this one, you know is at 212, but we'll reach in there and check. 200, 210--ah, that's hot. Now, you see, this seems like a small thing and maybe it is, but it adds up.

Onscreen text: IN FACT...IF EVERY HOUSEHOLD IN THE U.S. BOILED WATER JUST ONCE A YEAR, WE COULD SAVE \$2,212,175* JUST BY PUTTING A LID ON IT. BUON APPETITO!

*Calculations assume boiling 4 cups of water in Boston, MA with a 2.6 watt electric burner, 23.5 cents per kWh, and 112,362,848 households in the U.S.

Credits

Original footage produced by Larry Klein for NOVA's "The Big Energy Gamble."

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