The beauty of the natural world doesn’t fade when the sun goes down. Far from it: Glowing organisms and objects create light shows in our forests, seas, and skies. Now you can add your kitchen to that list. All you need is an unopened jar of peanut butter and a laser pointer.
As the mysterious host of YouTube science show NurdRage will demonstrate, peanut butter briefly glows green after exposure to a violet laser. Any peanut butter should work, as long as it’s fresh. The phenomenon is called delayed fluorescence, or afterglow, and is caused by light-absorbing natural compounds called phenols. The same effect can be spotted in other nuts like cashews and almonds, but, as Sarah Keartes explains in The Nerdist, the process of crushing and heating peanuts to make peanut butter really gives the phenols a chance to shine.
This isn’t peanut butter’s first experimental rodeo. Scientists have turned peanut butter into diamonds, and astronauts have explored the fine art of making a peanut butter sandwich in microgravity. America’s favorite nut butter and science go together like … something and something else.