*By Amanda C. Lee*

A few days ago, my physics teacher introduced a new concept to the class. Relating to our work, energy, and power unit, she brought up the question: “can you cook a chicken by slapping it?” This question stems from a recent Reddit post under the tag r/nostupidquestions. Now this seems like a pretty obvious answer: no, how could a chicken be cooked with your bare hands? At least, until it was posted on Facebook, where a physics major, Parker Ormonde, was able to rationalize the answer.

To start, you have to know the formula for converting between kinetic energy and thermal energy: ½mv^{2} = mcΔT, where m = mass, v = velocity, c = specific heat capacity, and ΔT = change in temperature. Keep in mind, this theory only works if ALL kinetic energy from the slap is converted into thermal energy.

**Calculations**

Ormonde determined that the average human hand weighs about 0.4kg, and that the average slap has a velocity of 11m/s. Plugging these values into our formula results in: ½(0.4kg)(11m/s)^{2} = mcΔT, or 24.2kgm^{2}/s^{2} = mcΔT. Since kgm^{2}s^{2 }can also be conveyed as joules (the unit for measuring energy), the units convert into 24.2J = mcΔT. Ormonde then recognized that an average 1kg rotisserie chicken has a specific heat capacity of 2720J/kgºC. The formula has now made it to 24.2J = (1kg)(2720J/kgºC)(ΔT), or 24.2J/2720JºC = ΔT. Thus, ΔT = 0.0089ºC. This value represents the temperature increase associate with 1 average slap on a frozen chicken (initial temperature of 0ºC). Then, he stated that the frozen chicken must reach a temperature of 205ºC to consider it cooked. We can calculate the number of slaps needed by dividing 205ºC by the temperature increase of 0.0089ºC.

**Conclusion**

Ultimately, Ormonde came to the conclusion that it would take 23 034 average slaps to cook a chicken. He went further to state that cooking a chicken in one slap would require a velocity of 1665.65m/s. This is obviously quite humanly impossible, considering that the fastest manned jet in the world reaches a maximum of 980.56m/s. Its impossibility also may be for the best, as I doubt anyone would want to eat a chicken that has been slapped 23 000 times. So, while cooking a chicken with our bare hands may not be possible as of today, I find comfort knowing that physics can explain how it could be possible under the right circumstances.

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