# Cooling at a Distance

We have microwaves. Microwave ovens convert electricity into microwaves, specifically waves that resonate with water to make it hotter, thus heating my pizza in 3 minutes without disintegrating the plate it rests on until I devour it.

We basically shoot waves at something at a certain frequency, and it gets hotter. I regularly burn my mouth on pizza because I don't want to wait to eat it.

Are there wave-forms that could uniformly cool the water molecules in a pizza? Because then we could have microwaves that heat something to a certain temperature, or even follow recipes for heating and cooling to get those extra flavors and textures. Can interference be used to slow and cool down a molecule, or what is the mechanism by which microwaves heat water?

Can I save my mouth from being burnt by pizza?

I've tried waiting, which works, but I'm impatient.

• @Drjh he already uses this method by waiting for the piza to cool Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 11:54
• Thanks! That's laser cooling :))) lol! lol lol lol!!!! hah hah hah! My bad....so funny though! See LASER cooling. Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 1:43
• This is not possible. Electromagnetic radiation has energy (positive energy!) and anything that absorbs radiation should increase in heat. So things cannot be cooled by the absorption of radiation. There is however a process called "Laser cooling" so perhaps you could check that out here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_cooling Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 1:44
• Please clarify if the plate disintegrates when you devour the pizza, or if meant you devour the plate the pizza rests on.
– KDP
Commented Mar 25 at 4:07

I'm not stating my answer as definite as I have only a trivial understanding of the subject, but it seems that as the radiation passes through your pizza the water molecules begin to spin (microwave's field is oscillating, therefore the molecules have to re-orient themselves due to their charge, which causes a continued rotation or spin). That spin results in friction between water molecules, which heats up your pizza. I don't think laser cooling would be very effective if you want to eat an entire slice at an optimal temperature. What you could do though is launch your pizza into an elliptical orbit, the apsis aligning with the shadow of Earth, so the pizza spends the most time out of direct sunlight. Assuming that the pizza is already in an enclosed chamber, you could probably figure out the optimal material which could conduct the heat from the pizza (probably pretty warm if you didn't have an ablator on your pizza capsule) to the vacuum and calculate the half-life of the temperature of the chamber (factoring in the the exposure to radiation from unobstructed sunlight), so you can coordinate your docking with the pizza at the correct time in alignment with the desired temperature... no sweat.

• Definitely a top contender for "Longest Way Around to a Simple Solution" contest Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 12:35
• Hmm. But that would entail waiting... even longer than letting air do its job. Are there other mechanisms in physics that can stop stuff (or specifically water)? Seems like making stuff go faster, and making stuff go slower would make a good complement of operations. (Just from a CS perspective). Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 5:32

Yes, it's possible, but not with a single E-M beam. If you look up "laser trap" and the like, e.g. the Wikipedia page , you can see how small bunches of atoms can be cooled via absorption and reradiation.

Meanwhile, (WARNING: not physics), you are eating pizza wrong if you wait for it to cool :-) . I had friends in college who referred to burning the roof of their mouth as a "cosmic high" .

• Hmm, no, I have the same problem with soup. Makes me think it's the foods and everyone else as opposed to my fault ;) So what makes a microwave work with a small (household) amount of water, and what makes cooling different? Could one create a grid of interference patterns cooling pockets of pizza and thus draining the rest of the pizza to a non mouth burning level? Damnit, I want this to be a thing (I'm just learning about waves) Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 5:28

Maybe instead of using light to cool the pizza you could have the heat transfer to something like a precooled gas or maybe some sort of precooled solid. if you want to do it uniformly though, you can have the heat drained out from the outside using the precooled gas or solid, and then the heat from the inner parts of the pizza would come out to, then you can heat it up from the outside because otherwise the outside will be colder then the inside. Lasers are only really useful if you want to cool a few atoms to near 0 degrees kelvin.