The definitive science of popcorn can be found in the paper 'The Effects of Ingredients on Popcorn Popping Characteristics', by M. Ceylan and E. Karababa, in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 2004.
According to the Turkish researchers, popcorn popped in a microwave oven needs 1.5g of salt, 2g of vegetable oil and 6g of butter for every 25g of corn to get both the most expansion and the fewest unpopped kernels.
On a stove top, however, only 1.1g of salt and 4.2g of butter will achieve optimum results.
Adding about about 0.3g of sodium bicarbonate can also enhance the popping.
Microwave popping, however, gives about 10 per cent less expansion than heating on top of the stove.
In February 2011, a man was arrested at a cinema in Latvia on suspicion of shooting another man dead for eating his popcorn too loudly during the film Black Swan.