Scientists Used Microwave Ovens to Reanimate Frozen Hamsters in 1950s

This might be the most interesting story you'll ever hear about microwave ovens.
Derya Ozdemir

This video's back story starts with Tom Scott, a YouTuber, game show host, and web developer, finding a newsletter article from 1997 that claimed "The microwave was invented to heat hamsters humanely in 1950s experiments." 

You might think that's incorrect, and a quick Google search will tell you that the heating effect of a high-power microwave beam was accidentally discovered by Percy Spencer, an American self-taught engineer from Howland, Maine, in 1945. After some experiments, Spencer figured out the microwaves could be concentrated to heat food and then he would create the first working microwave oven. This well-known story doesn't mention anyone heating hamsters in laboratories anywhere, so the newsletter quote might be considered an urban legend, almost. However, as you'd imagine, the story doesn't end there and Scott goes to incredibly interesting and unique details about the history of microwaves in this 11-minute video.

The best part of the video is admittedly an appearance from James Lovelock, an independent scientist, environmentalist, and futurist, whom Scott goes to interview after reading that, back in the 1950s, Lovelock worked at the National Institute for Medical Research, freezing rats and hamsters, and he apparently had the idea to use microwave diathermy to reheat them. If you're interested in learning more, definitely watch the video embedded above. Enjoy!

Image sources: 1, 2

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