So you can show Trump that climate change is real

By Matthew Kassel
Updated February 13, 2018
EC: How to Fry Eggs on the Sidewalk
Credit: Photo by Hollydc via Getty Images

Donald J. Trump has said he thinks climate change is a myth created by the Chinese “in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” so it would seem that attempts to counter such a misguided idea should be equally nonsensical. Perhaps that was the reasoning of a professor in Australia, who recently suggested, in the wake of the hottest year on record, that people send Trump photos of eggs frying on sidewalks to prove that global warming exists. “He doesn’t seem to believe the science, but maybe he’d get that,” Bill Laurance, a researcher in the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University in Queensland, told the Cairns Post.

Whether this method of political resistance is more effective than marching in a protest or calling your local legislator remains to be seen, but it’s certainly symbolic. Of course, it isn’t entirely clear if you can cook an egg on a sidewalk.

According to a website of science facts from the Library of Congress, it is theoretically possible, but sidewalks don’t usually get hot enough. Apparently, an “egg needs a temperature of 158°F to become firm,” the Library of Congress says, while most hot sidewalks can reach around 145°F. “Once you crack the egg onto the sidewalk,” the Library of Congress says, “the egg cools the sidewalk slightly. Pavement of any kind is a poor conductor of heat, so lacking an additional heat source from below or from the side, the egg will not cook evenly.”

YouTube videos bring that idea home, though perhaps the outdoor cooks making half-formed eggs on hot sidewalks just aren’t patient enough.

“I believe it is indeed possible to fry an egg on a sidewalk during particularly hot days with intense sun, although it happens more slowly than in a frying pan,” Professor Laurence told me in an email from the Congo, where is doing field work. “I remember once seeing the bottom of my tennis shoes begin to melt during a very hot day, although that was on a metal surface.”

EC: assets%2Fmessage-editor%2F1485279742536-gettyimages-95041862
Credit: Photo by Riley Maclean via Getty Images

“In the interest of science and journalism,” he added, “I think I might give this a try the next time we have a particularly hot, sunny day.”