QuickCheck: Were microwave ovens originally developed to reanimate frozen hamsters?


A YOUTUBE video claims that the microwave oven was developed to warm up cryogenically frozen hamsters.

Is this true?

Verdict:

PARTIALLY TRUE

The microwave oven has been "discovered" several times by different people.

With this story, esteemed scientist James Lovelock in the 1950s needed a way to humanely warm up hamsters who had been cryogenically frozen as part of a study on cell degeneration conducted by National Institute for Medical Research, UK.

These hamsters were frozen with 60% of the water in their bodies turned to ice.

Prior to Lovelock's invention, the hamsters were warmed up with red hot spoons which obviously injured them.

Lovelock came up with his device which in his words, did "almost everything you would expect in an ordinary microwave oven".

He doesn't claim however to be the inventor of the microwave oven, that honour goes to self-though American engineer Percy Spencer.

While employed with Raytheon in 1945, he noticed a chocolate bar in his pocket melted when he was working on an active radar set.

With a little bit of experimentation, the first dish he deliberately cooked with microwaves was a bowl of popcorn.



REFERENCES

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tdiKTSdE9Y&feature=emb_imp_woyt

2. https://www.nature.com/articles/1731136a0

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