After class Wednesday, all Gavin Nearbrook wanted was a fluffy, toasty-warm baked potato before bed. But when he mistakenly left his fork in the microwave to cook with it—sticking up and out of the delicious tuber—he got a whole lot more: infinite, clean and piping-hot energy.
When Nearbrook opened the microwave and discovered his blunder, he found the potato pulsing with a “bright, golden light,” and the protruding fork emitting arcs of “white-hot lightning” across the dingy kitchen.
“I couldn’t look right at it, not even with sunglasses,” Nearbrook said. “Actually, I still can’t really see too good.”
The Madison Fire Department responded to calls from Nearbrook’s Spring Street residence, and eventually the luminous spud was turned over to the intervening Nuclear Disarmament Task Force, an until-now clandestine federal agency that detected the forked potato’s electromagnetic signature from their subterranean headquarters in Bucktail, Neb.
The exact mechanism behind the potato’s novel properties has yet to be discerned, and scientists worldwide are in awe of the discovery, including UW-Madison theoretical physicist Andrei Ivanov.
“It doesn’t make any sense, even Einstein wouldn’t be able to explain this, nobody could predict this. A potato? A fork? A potato! I don’t get it, my training, the laws of thermodynamics, nothing matters anymore,” Ivanov said, before breaking down into what Cardinal reporters could only assume were joyful tears.
Local genius inventor Gavin Nearbrook showed only measured modesty.
“It’s what I eat every night. I just scrub down a big ’tater, hit the ‘potato’ button, and, you know, maybe dollop some sour cream on that sucker. It’s pretty surprising, I mean, it’s pretty cool.”
Many of the great names in science rose to prominence by accident: Alexander Fleming’s penicillin, Charles Goodyear’s vulcanized rubber, Walter the Baker’s pretzels, but it’s time to append the list—2016 will forever be remembered as the year Gavin Nearbrook resolved mankind’s energy needs.