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Shocking Pickled Pumpkins! Halloween Science

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Channel: The Royal Institution
Categories: Chemistry   |   Science  
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Its Halloween, which means its time we put more pumpkins in peril. This year, our inventive presenter and experimenter Dan Plane finds out what happens when you run an electric current through pumpkins pickled in different compounds.
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Whether it's heat or electricity, applying sufficient energy to chemical compounds results in changing the energy state of the atoms they consist of: the electrons that make up the atoms are knocked off their usual energy shells (the ground state), and the atoms end up in an excited state. This state is temporary: the atoms will always seek to return to the ground state, which they do by getting rid of excess energy in the form of photons. Every element has its own set of wavelengths, which means that, as the atoms return to their ground state, they emit light of varying colours (emission spectra).

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