Science, technology, engineering, math – also known as STEM – seem to be a hot topic these days as our nation seeks to continue to stay competitive in the global workforce. Writing in code is something that correlates to some of the professions tied to STEM, but did you know it also can be a great way to keep yourself busy, or even create a secret language to communicate with your family and friends?

So what exactly is writing in code? Well, there are many ways to do it, but one of them requires your favorite carbonated beverages. According to a team of scientists from Weizmann Institute of Science, to write in code just takes is some nifty chemistry to create an encryption key to code and decode hidden messages. Their method, published in the journal Nature Communications, may seem complex, but it’s actually simple to use – if you have the inexpensive device that is needed. It all boils down to molecules. In the case of “soda coding,” that means measuring the wavelengths of the fluorescent molecules that beverages give off to get the code you need to decrypt a message.

For example, if your message was “open sesame,” you can encode “open” as follows:
O = 4350
P = 4650
E = 1350
N = 4050

And then you assign a wavelength of light (measured in nanometers) to each letter as follows:
O = 500nm
P = 520nm
E = 540nm
N = 560nm

May seem a little difficult, but it could be an entertaining project for the family on a rainy day! When done encoding your message, just give the numbers and the fluorescent molecule to the person you want to decode your message. You can conceal the letter by drying the molecule onto a letter. Then all the recipient needs to do is place the letter in the same brand of cola and measure the light released to decode the message. Yes, it’s a real science experiment. It may not be for the faint of heart, but it is definitely for those with a sense of curiosity about their carbonated beverage.