| Down to a Science |

What Falls but Never Hits the Ground?  

What makes some things get cold and other things get hot in the same room at the same time?

Hello kiddos,

This is Professor Mordy Maven, Thinker, Wonderer, and Figure-Outer of all things Science-ish. What that basically means is I try really hard to figure stuff out. I do the hard work, so you don’t have to!

The other day, I woke up as hungry as a lion. I raced down the stairs to discover my loving and wonderful mother standing in the kitchen. “Hungry, Mordy?” she asked. “ROOOAAARRR!” I responded. (Actually, I said, Yeah, Ma. But my stomach grumbled so loud it sounded like I was roaring.)

My mother realized that the situation was serious. She quickly whipped up two eggs just the way I like them, with pineapple chunks, fried mushrooms, and Gouda cheese. (Hey, I don’t judge what you eat! Don’t judge me either.) Then she poured me a tall glass of cold, frothy milk.

I was all ready to sit down and dig in when I suddenly remembered that I’d left my electromagnoscopic fidget spinner pop-it in my room and I’d promised that I would bring it to school to show Chaim. I left the food on the table and ran back upstairs to find it.

I was almost 100 percent sure that I had left it on my night table, but it wasn’t there. I rummaged around in my drawers, looked in my closet, searched in my bookcase and eventually found it under my bed wrapped carefully in my sister’s Shabbos robe to protect it from dust. Then I ran back down to my delicious breakfast.

I took a quick bite of my hot, steaming eggs and…. they were cold. I spit them out and reached for my cold, frothy milk, but it was warm!! My yummy delicious breakfast… WAS RUINED!!! That got me wondering — how is it possible that my milk got warm while my eggs got cold?


Here are some fascinating facts about temperature:

Rubber bands last longer when they’re kept refrigerated. Weird, right?

When lightning strikes it can reach up to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius)! YOWZA!!

The coldest city in the world is Yakutsk in Siberia, where temperatures sometimes reach minus degrees Fahrenheit. I bet they never get warm eggs there!

What kind of magic force is at work to make some things get cold and other things get hot in the same room at the same time?? What was going on here???

I was still starving and this whole thing was driving me bananas. So, I grabbed a banana and some cold cereal and moped all the way to school. As the day went on, I realized that I was burning with the question of what had happened to my food. So, after school, I delved deep into the books and discovered a little thing called… ambient temperature.

Ambient temperature is a term referring to the temperature of the air around you. This is very closely connected to room temperature, which is a range of temperatures that are comfortable for humans. (Not to be confused with “You have temperature!” which is what your mother says before she serves you a huge bowl of chicken soup and tucks you into bed.) At this comfortable room temperature range, people aren’t hot or cold while wearing regular clothing. Generally, homes are kept at an ambient temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit ( 21 degrees Celsius). To keep our homes steadily at this comfortable temperature, people use air conditioners to cool down the air in the summer and heaters to warm up the air in the winter. (And all of that costs money, which is why you sometimes hear your father shout, “Would you shut the front door? I’m not paying to heat up the entire neighborhood!!”) Thermometers are used to keep track of the ambient temperature and adjust it if necessary.

Now here’s the thing. While the temperature in the air is most comfortable around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of hot foods (like a delicious pineapple mushroom omelet) is best enjoyed at a heat of 140 degrees Fahrenheit ( 60 degrees Celsius). Fresh milk, on the other hand, is most delicious served at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and that’s exactly how my mother served them. So what happened to my yummy food?

Well, remember my electromagnoscopic fidget spinner pop-it? Remember how long it took me to find it? While I was searching for it, my food was adjusting to the temperature of the air around it. The milk was warming up until it reached 70 degrees (yuck! Warm milk!!) and the eggs were cooling down until they reached 70 degrees (double yuck! Cold eggs!) and I was left eating a banana.

To sum it up, room temperature is the temperature you want to be in to feel comfortable. Sadly, the temperature that is comfortable for your body and the temperature that is delicious for your food are two entirely different things, and the way to make sure that you don’t end up with a ruined breakfast is to remember where you put your fidget spinner.


I hope that helped solve the mystery for you, kids. And with that, I’m hopping off to my next quest…

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 885)

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