The Loh Down On Science

Cooking with Mirrors

A new solar cooker solves the logistical problems of cooking in Tibet.

Cooking in Tibet? They do it with mirrors!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

saying, well, almost.

You have two choices if you're cooking in a sky-high Tibetan village. An open fire, fueled by wood or yak dung, or a solar cooker that uses mirrors to harness the sun's heat.

Problem? Wood is scarce in those parts--even if yak dung isn't. And solar cookers can spew nasty, unhealthy smoke.

Plus, they're made of concrete and glass--making them way too heavy to tote along while tending the herd.

To the rescue--students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tibet's Qinghai Normal University.

Their new and improved solar cooker is inspired by the design of nomadic tents. It's made from yak-wool panels and mylar instead of glass. That makes it lightweight and portable enough for one person to carry and set up in the field.

Improved engineering means less smoke. And when adapted to heat homes, it eliminates the need for non-renewable fuels.

Plus, this exotic new cooker will make for a very very SPECIAL--if very very SHORT-new edition of Iron Chef: Himalaya edition. Today's secret ingredient? Yak. Tomorrow's secret ingredient? Yak. Next week's...


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