QUIZ: Should You Heat Up Your Lunch in the Experimental Microwave?

Tomley, T. et al

Admit it. You’ve been tempted. It would be so easy to use the lab microwave instead of walking to the lunch room, and yet the lab microwave calls to you somehow… Take this quiz to determine whether you should or shouldn’t use the experimental microwave to heat up your lunch once and for all!

 1.      How far away is the break room from your workspace?

  • a.      It might as well be on the moon (you do not work on the moon).
  • b.      A bit of a walk.
  • c.      Literally next door.

 2.      Do you run a lot of experiments that are very tight timewise, not giving you much time for breaks?

  • a.      Your work is so sensitive you are forced to pee in bottles while watching it closely.
  • b.      You get decent breaks, but they’re at odd times throughout the day.
  • c.      You have machines or coworkers who do most of your work for you, so you’re basically always free.

3.      Do you find yourself getting very hungry during the workday?     

  • a.      Yes, desperately hungry.
  • b.      Sometimes.
  • c.      Never.

4.    Do you have a lot of coworkers in your workspace who may snitch on you?

  • a.      You have not seen another human in your workspace for over a year.
  • b.      There are a few people who go in and out, but you don’t really talk.
  • c.      You work with the Queen of snitches and her posse.

5.      How clean is the experimental microwave?

  • a.      You mostly just heat water in it, so it’s probably fine.
  • b.      Some major experiments happen in it, but the radiation should kill most of the pathogens.
  • c.      The microwave is dirty and highly radioactive.

6.      Would you be willing to clean the experimental microwave after heating your lunch?

  • a.      Of course, you’re not a monster! Also, it eliminates evidence.
  • b.      You’ll probably remember to clean it.
  • c.      Microwaves are supposed to be cleaned?

7.       Do you think using the experimental microwave to heat up your lunch is unethical?

  • a.      No.
  • b.      It’s sort of a gray area.
  • c.      Yes.

8.      Does your lab have a rule about no food in experimental areas?

  • a.      It’s an unwritten rule because your superiors believe you have basic common sense and experimental integrity (you do not).
  • b.      Yes.
  • c.      The rule is highly enforced, appearing on multiple signs around the lab.

9.      Does your lab have plants, animals, and/or other organic matter?

  • a.      Yes, and those are technically edible, so food in the lab isn’t even a big deal. It’s all just molecules and atoms when you think about it.
  • b.      Yes… but food is not the same as experimental organisms and materials.
  • c.      What does this have to do with the experimental microwave? 

10.   Do you believe in the possibility of Schrödinger’s pizza as it relates to the experimental microwave?

  • a.      I like where this is going.
  • b.      Can you please expand on this premise?
  • c.      Huh? I don’t like where this is going.

11.   Who’s to say there is or isn’t a pizza slice already inside the experimental microwave at this very moment or any future moment? There is a possibility that the molecules inside the microwave may spontaneously order themselves into the form of pizza at any given time, ergo, Schrödinger’s pizza.

  • a.      I definitely believe Schrödinger’s pizza is a thing and I will fight any nonbelievers.
  • b.      I get the concept, but believe the possibility is so remote as to be unacknowledgeable.
  • c.      You cannot reheat pizza in the experimental microwave. What is wrong with you people?

12.   And if there is in fact pizza to be found within, how can anyone prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you put it in the experimental microwave?

  • a.      No one can prove anything, that’s the beauty of it.
  • b.      Your coworkers will probably suspect you.
  • c.      There are cameras in your workplace.

13.   If a pizza does spontaneously form within the experimental microwave, is it not your duty as a scientist to investigate this spectacular occurrence?

  • a.      Yes, you should run many tests, including taste tests.
  • b.      I guess if that happened it should be investigated?
  • c.      This would never happen.

14.   Do you agree that many fantastic scientific discoveries have been made due to contamination or by accident?

  • a.      Yes! Where would we be without the discovery of penicillin, which came from a moldy petri dish left by a careless lab technician? That could be you!
  • b.      You agree, but don’t want to cause the contamination or accident yourself.
  • c.      Yes, but you should still leave the poor experimental microwave alone.

YOUR RESULTS!

Mostly As: You should definitely heat up your lunch in the experimental microwave if you haven’t already. Bon appétit!

Mostly Bs: You are on the fence about heating up your lunch in the experimental microwave. Retake this quiz again if you notice a change in your ethics, hunger level, or sense of adventure for a more definitive answer.

Mostly Cs: You shouldn’t heat up your lunch in the experimental microwave. You’re also probably the person who would tattle on anyone who did. Party pooper.

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About Author

Tatiana Tomley

Tatiana Tomley is an ex-high school English teacher, ex-genetic researcher, and current freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing Fiction. She has had a variety of work published, ranging from poetry and short stories to news articles, comedy, and research papers, most notably in such publications as Points in Case and The Journal of Biological Chemistry. You can follow her on Twitter @ttom_thewriter.

About Tatiana Tomley 1 Article
Tatiana Tomley is an ex-high school English teacher, ex-genetic researcher, and current freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing Fiction. She has had a variety of work published, ranging from poetry and short stories to news articles, comedy, and research papers, most notably in such publications as Points in Case and The Journal of Biological Chemistry. You can follow her on Twitter @ttom_thewriter.