Stop checking on that bottle in the freezer every five minutes.

By Mike Pomranz
August 14, 2019
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It's a simple question that never seems to have a solid answer: How long do you have to chill a drink before it's reached the right temperature? If you've ever grabbed a bottle of white wine out of the fridge to find it was still too warm or accidentally left a beer in the freezer until the can exploded, you know what I am talking about. So does Alvaro Diez, a Polish physics student who developed an easy online solution: the Chilled Drink Calculator.

Diez, a grad student at the University of Warsaw, along with Tibor Pal, a PhD candidate and wine expert, created the Chilled Drink Calculator as part of The Omni Calculator Project, which seeks to put a simple scientific spin on common situations from a Dividend Calculator to a Calories Burned Biking Calculator to a Beer Pong Calculator (really). All of these calculators have a similar premise though: Enter some basic variables to get an easy to understand answer. For example, with the Chilled Drink Calculator, let it know what drink you want to cool, what size container it's in, where it's been, how you plan to cool it, and what temperature you want to cool it to. Select the answers from a dropdown menu, and — voila! — the optimal time for cooling will be revealed.

Though crunching these numbers may seem tricky, Diez explained that, from a technical standpoint, it's just a bit of applied physics. "[The calculator is] an easy-to-use version of Newton's Law of Cooling that has been modified to include technical values for the most common combinations of containers and beverages," he told me via email. Currently, the calculator is only available on the web, but he said an app is on their to-do list.

And using the calculator may be even more helpful than it seems. Imagine being able to toss some beers in the freezer or a bottle of white wine in the fridge and then just setting a timer for when they are ready instead of constantly checking on them. Furthermore, the precise wait time given by the calculator does away with the always inaccurate feel test or the "well-now-I've-already-opened-the-can" taste test. That additional practicality is the whole point of this project.

"We're building Omni Calculator to help people make better, more informed decisions. Those based on numbers as opposed to emotions or intuition," Mateusz Mucha, founder of The Omni Calculator Project, told me. "There are thousands of problems waiting for someone to convert them to numbers. People tend not to do the math by themselves, because they either don't have those basic arithmetic skills, lack the time, or simply don't feel like doing it. We're here to make it easy, fast and even kinda fun, thus removing these barriers…. I'm estimating people take their calculation-related problems to Google 4.5 billion times each month. It's about time our calculators stopped assuming we know all the formulas."

Yeah, so stop Googling "How long do I need to chill these White Claws for?" Use the Chilled Drink Calculator instead!

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