Tom Scott

I promise this story about microwaves is interesting.

I found an article that said “The microwave was invented to heat hamsters humanely in 1950s experiments.” And I thought, no it wasn’t. …was it?

Pull down the description for thorough references and credits.

Thanks to James Lovelock for his time! His latest book is Novacene: https://amzn.to/3hmKsWz [that is, of course, an Amazon affiliate link]

Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ – thanks to jabs, PCR tests, isolation and distancing.

I did consider whether to do an extended interview with Dr Lovelock, but the Science Museum has already done far better than I ever could:

On cyborgs, asteroids and Gaia theory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg-3wBBpM_M

On his greatest epiphany: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxYMl4ZBxBk

An extended 90-minute interview from the Lovelock Centenary Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGziItCwDJA

REFERENCES:

HISTORY OF THE MICROWAVE:
I Burrell, in the Independent, 1997: “Your money, or the cat gets microwaved”: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/your-money-or-the-cat-gets-microwaved-1246775.html
M Blitz, “The Amazing True Story of How the Microwave Was Invented by Accident”: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/a19567/how-the-microwave-was-invented-by-accident/
E Schliephake, “Ultra-short waves in medicine” in Short Wave Craft, Vol. 3, No. 11, March 1933, p. 646 [PDF]: https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-Short-Wave-Television/30s/SW-TV-1933-03.pdf
E Ackerman, “A Brief History of the Microwave Oven”, IEEE Spectrum: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/space-age/a-brief-history-of-the-microwave-oven

Radarange photo from Acroterion: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NS_Savannah_microwave_oven_MD8.jpg – image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

James Lovelock in 1962: Photo by Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

PAPERS FROM NIMR:
A Smith, J Lovelock, A Parkes, 1954: Resuscitation of Hamsters after Supercooling or Partial Crystallization at Body Temperatures Below 0° C.. Nature 173, 1136–1137. https://doi.org/10.1038/1731136a0
R K Andjus, J E Lovelock, 1955: Reanimation of rats from body temperatures between 0 and 1° C by microwave diathermy. The Journal of Physiology, 128. https://doi.org10.1113/jphysiol.1955.sp005323.
Lovelock, J E, Smith A U, 1959, Heat transfer from and to animals in experimental hypothermia and freezing. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 80: 487-499. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1959.tb49226.x

I’m at https://tomscott.com
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott
on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo

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