M5 From Fermi to the Frying Pan

The famous Italian physicist Enrico Fermi once asked a student during an examination: “The boiling point of olive oil is higher than the melting point of tin. Explain how it is then possible to fry food in olive oil in a pan.” (Italian saucepans are wholly made of tinned copper.) What is the answer?.

Concepts involved:

  • boiling point, melting point, conduction.

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