Salty serendipity

The Accelerator Application Development and Demonstration (A2D2) at Fermilab’s Illinois Accelerator Research Center has a new, instantly gratifying application. You might just want one for your kitchen.

Members of the A2D2 team discovered that the compact accelerator can cook ramen noodles in half the time that it takes a microwave to do the same job.

“It’s really astonishing,” said Fermilab’s Tom Kroc, an A2D2 physicist. “When you want ramen, you want it now. In an instant. I was already pretty happy with my stovetop results — and even with the microwave time — but this A2D2 lightning-fast cook time takes the cake. Er, the noodles.”

The A2D2 group realized their good luck during a test of the accelerator, when someone decided to place uncooked noodles in a beaker of water near A2D2. After running the accelerator for just 90 seconds, the scientists noticed that the beaker was overflowing with briny, noodly deliciousness.

“We did a taste test, just in case,” said Charlie Cooper, general manager of IARC. “It was just as good as microwave-cooked ramen. Better, in fact. And the texture was more satisfying, too. Go figure.”

It isn’t often that a result from accelerator science is so visible, let alone tactile and fragrant.

“We think that somehow we found a compatible beam profile for heating ramen. Man, were we ever overtaken by the wonderful aroma filling the room. Thank goodness someone had the presence of mind to record the accelerator’s settings so that we can repeat this outcome,” said Cherri Schmidt, director of IARC. She added that the settings are proprietary and that Fermilab has applied for a patent.

IARC will host a ramen buffet this Friday from 3-5 p.m. It’s BYOB — bring your own bowl. And slurping spoon if you’re fancy.

Innovation often appears when you aren't expecting it. In a recent test of Fermilab's new A2D2 accelerator, an IARC group boiled a cup of water using the machine, and they discovered cooked noodles — both scientifically and olfactorily delicious. Photo: Ramen Hahn and Dynamo Brando

Innovation often appears when you aren’t expecting it. In a recent test of Fermilab’s new A2D2 accelerator, an IARC group boiled a cup of water using the machine, and they discovered cooked noodles — both scientifically and olfactorily delicious. Photo: Ramen Hahn and Dynamo Brando