I promise this story about microwaves is interesting.

276 000 Views 2.5M

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: amzn.to/3hmKsWz [that is, of course, an Amazon affiliate link]

Filmed safely: 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: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg-3w...

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

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


I Burrell, in the Independent, 1997: "Your money, or the cat gets microwaved": www.independent.co.uk/news/yo...
M Blitz, "The Amazing True Story of How the Microwave Was Invented by Accident": www.popularmechanics.com/tech...
E Schliephake, "Ultra-short waves in medicine" in Short Wave Craft, Vol. 3, No. 11, March 1933, p. 646 [PDF]: worldradiohistory.com/Archive...
E Ackerman, "A Brief History of the Microwave Oven", IEEE Spectrum: spectrum.ieee.org/tech-histor...

Radarange photo from Acroterion: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi... - image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, creativecommons.org/licenses/...

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

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. 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. doi.org10.1113/jphysiol.1955.... .
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. doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1...

I'm at tomscott.com
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on Facebook at tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo


  1. Tom Scott
    Tom Scott
    Month ago

    One of the limitations of UKwill as a medium is that you have to summarise a whole story into a title and thumbnail. I couldn't do that here without being unfair to the people I'm talking about, or giving away a big part of the piece too early, or using too many words. Ah well. I hope everyone else finds the story as interesting as I did!

    1. Cmiguel44
      11 days ago

      If I watched 10 minutes of microwaves it wasnt for nothing

    2. Lennaert Hondelink
      Lennaert Hondelink
      14 days ago

      Would a baby human be small enough though

    3. avirosin
      18 days ago

      This reply could be a part of history

    4. avirosin
      18 days ago


    5. Nasu
      19 days ago

      I think including successful reanimation through a microwave oven could have been even more interesting. I almost missed this one.

  2. Rowan Reid
    Rowan Reid
    8 hours ago

    so if your pet dies just throw them in a microwave. great advice tom

  3. Tasha Chan
    Tasha Chan
    8 hours ago

    IT DOESN'T SCALE UP??????! 😭😭

  4. Ryan Curle
    Ryan Curle
    8 hours ago

    "No one's going to watch this." 2.5m views

  5. Bo Frank
    Bo Frank
    12 hours ago

    The interview is awesome.

  6. humilulo
    12 hours ago

    Tom, if you make the video, i already think it will be interesting. when you tell me this in the headline, i totally trust you. and this was more interesting than i expected! nice job on over-delivering! greetings from Kansas City!

  7. invisiblekid99
    15 hours ago

    It was an OPEN microwave!!!!! Lightbulbs were lighting up and pound notes were being set on fire. And the inventor and oporator is the most cognitive, well-spoken 101-year-old gentleman I've seen and heard.

  8. hdckighfkvhvgmk
    18 hours ago

    Me clicking on this: ok cool I'll take you're word on that 30 seconds in: ...to do *WHAT???*

  9. Belen Seoane
    Belen Seoane
    23 hours ago

    He's been waiting all his life to tell this story

  10. Avery Lee
    Avery Lee
    Day ago

    to be fair this is probably one of the most compelling titles ive seen for a video in a while

  11. Carbonhead
    Day ago

    What a cool video!

  12. October Hare
    October Hare
    Day ago

    My microwave is that exact model in the thumbnail so I was hoping to find out it has magical properties. Hamster necromancy is close enough.

  13. DBSTKjS
    Day ago

    "I put a potato in it and baked it, and it was perfectly alright" Yea, that's a British fella

  14. Martin Guerre
    Martin Guerre
    Day ago


  15. Raiden
    2 days ago

    Suddenly I understand why I microwaved that hamster in Day of the Tentacle.

  16. Gergana Panayotowa
    Gergana Panayotowa
    2 days ago

    Wow, I just hope I feel, look and speak as good at 101 Radiation and everything ... :O

  17. Tamaresque
    3 days ago

    No, it's not. Even at 1.5X speed, it's not.

  18. Nightelf Mohawk
    Nightelf Mohawk
    3 days ago

    I wish I could learn everything that scientist knows

  19. Nate S
    Nate S
    3 days ago

    Wait, how do they know you cannot freeze and reanimate a human? HOW DO THEY KNOW?

    1. Andrej Jerman
      Andrej Jerman
      17 hours ago

      google unit 751.

  20. spammusubican
    5 days ago

    Without any hyperbole, this video is a masterpiece.

  21. AdHocFuture
    5 days ago

    Fascinating. Don't take a microwave apart. Even one that has been setting for some time that was unplugged. It will kill you. I was part of a demonstration of one that was taken apart, and the stored power was enough to melt a hole thru a sheet of stainless steel. I think 1/8 inch. Too long ago to remember. I'll never forget that sound it made. Everyone jumped. This was under controlled conditions by a manufacturer. Not a garage experiment.

  22. Simon S
    Simon S
    5 days ago

    Day of the Tentacle vibes.

  23. Kanchan Chaudhary
    Kanchan Chaudhary
    5 days ago

    Regarding the intro, the title's clickbaity enough

  24. David Croft
    David Croft
    5 days ago

    That was brilliant, I could listen to James talking about his old experiments for hours!

  25. Spellbinder
    5 days ago

    This ACTUALLY was very interesting...

  26. Joseph Jorgensen
    Joseph Jorgensen
    5 days ago

    I love this nothing makes my day better then learning random stuff that really helps not a Bit but now I know a frozen hamster can be revived my only question is how long can you keep the animal frozen before it will come back

  27. Eltaurus
    5 days ago

    1:33 "There is a high-voltage capacitor in here, which can carry enough charge to kill" Me, who been struck thrice by the capacitor discharge: "Huh, good to know" But seriously, don't mess with those.

  28. First Last
    First Last
    5 days ago

    101 yr old scientist. That's what I wanna be in the future.

  29. Bob Bates
    Bob Bates
    6 days ago

    That was very interesting . I would love to sit and chat with Mr. Lovelock

  30. scumplus
    6 days ago

    microwave go MMMMMMMM

  31. Renan
    6 days ago

    But if it worked on hamsters maybe it can really work on humans too! People need to keep looking at it

  32. Markus Kamfjord
    Markus Kamfjord
    6 days ago


  33. Why Do I have this
    Why Do I have this
    6 days ago

    He's 101 and sharp as a knife. It's just, a wow!

  34. Andrei Vaida
    Andrei Vaida
    6 days ago

    It was interesting

  35. ACID
    6 days ago

    Please send hamsters to other plantes an make a big hamster plant while shooting new hamsters everyday

  36. Toon Holman
    Toon Holman
    6 days ago

    Genuine question: how did the freezing not break their cell walls? Isn't that the main problem with cryonics?

  37. Mr Heisenberg
    Mr Heisenberg
    6 days ago

    Lovelock seems like a top notch bloke

  38. NekoWerewolf
    6 days ago

    so, with a big enough microwave, i could reanimate the person in my freezer? .... a macrowave?

  39. XXveny
    7 days ago

    1:50 OK, this will sound super stupid... but can we tweak a magnetron to produce rays with different wave lenght? Like X-rays or Gamma?

  40. xxx
    7 days ago

    At 2:27 I got so confused because in Dutch we just say "magnetron" and I thought "IS MICROWAVE ANOTHER STUPID AMERICANISATION???" but then 2 seconds you said the word hehe.

  41. Warlordish
    7 days ago

    "Was it?" Al right Tom where are the hamsters.

  42. Hannah Jacob
    Hannah Jacob
    7 days ago

    The dependent sofa respectively warm because knee bizarrely colour by a ashamed quart. annoyed, economic input

  43. Horace Gentleman
    Horace Gentleman
    8 days ago

    Aliens are real and James Lovelock is absolute an extraterrestrial creature. I would like to thank him for his services to us, the psychedelic apes infesting this dirt ball.

  44. justbeing
    8 days ago


  45. j2simpso
    8 days ago

    You know a Tom Scott video is serious when it starts out with him wearing a grey hoodie! 😅

  46. Exploring Comics
    Exploring Comics
    8 days ago

    That was so interesting! And this 101 year old grandpa has such an active mind! I believe you will also be like that when you reach that age, taking into consideration that your mind is always active and curious! :) Great video, thank you for sharing! 😆

  47. TheMrinalBanerjee
    8 days ago

    I can't think why any video of Tom Scott would be uninteresting, or clickbait.

  48. Jeff Czermanski
    Jeff Czermanski
    8 days ago

    That guy is my hero. Absolute legend.

  49. Hjorten
    8 days ago

    TBH i find about 95% of your videos intresting, fascinating, educational, enjoyable or all of the above :) and I watch every single one, this was definitely one of those 95%. Also I'll definitely watch those interviews with Lovelock in the bio.

  50. ControllerLyfe
    8 days ago

    I promise my music and content is way more interesting than this.

  51. Spider Heart
    Spider Heart
    9 days ago

    GOOD MORNING TO DR LOVELOCK AND DR LOVELOCK ONLY. Oh my GOD what a delight!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Ted thesailor
    Ted thesailor
    9 days ago

    I have a 31 year old microwave oven. The turntable conked out a few years ago, but I managed to repair the motor with superglue. Then the light packed up - fixed by cleaning the bulb terminals. I wonder if it'll last as long as this genial old gentleman...

  53. Richard Smith
    Richard Smith
    9 days ago

    Why doesn't it kill roaches and fruit flies it has no effect on them

  54. Karol Palion
    Karol Palion
    9 days ago

    And that's why we hate motorbikers.

  55. Suraj Jain
    Suraj Jain
    9 days ago

    Now I know much more about microwave not just about heating process.. thanks mate 👍

  56. Nect
    10 days ago

    This feels like the human side of this got cut off. And that there's a missing link due to like government interference or something.

  57. Eli Wilson
    Eli Wilson
    10 days ago

    What a great title!

  58. Jonatan Søgaard
    Jonatan Søgaard
    10 days ago

    Lovelock's memory is incredible for a 101-year-old. Also, promise kept!

  59. sehhi vooty
    sehhi vooty
    10 days ago

    "Frozen solid, and I mean FROZEN SOLID" has me bursting.

  60. Jeff Lerner
    Jeff Lerner
    10 days ago

    Brilliant! I don't understand why anyone would give it a "thumbs down". Are they just mischievous or maybe too stupid to appreciate it?

    1. sehhi vooty
      sehhi vooty
      10 days ago

      "Frozen solid, and I mean FROZEN SOLID" has me bursting.

  61. Valerie DC
    Valerie DC
    10 days ago

    Additionally, is anyone continuing on his research?!?!? 😮 I feel like the conclusion that we can't do this on bigger animals can now be debunked with today's technology

  62. TheTurtleWithATopHat
    10 days ago

    What I want to know is how much time was between freezing the hamster and heating it up? 8 hours? 1 hour? 20min?

  63. Manjunath J
    Manjunath J
    10 days ago


  64. Products that may be dumb but I featured
    Products that may be dumb but I featured
    10 days ago

    When you mentioned the hamster I immediately thought of the hamster someone put in a microwave that exploded

  65. SoloAsh
    11 days ago

    I really enjoy your videos. Thank you for your hard work.

  66. Elgoog
    11 days ago

    The last time I heard the phrase "frozen hamster" was in The Day of The Tentacle

  67. AxiomAtion
    11 days ago

    Don’t have to convince me

    1. nieooj gotoy
      nieooj gotoy
      11 days ago

      Retirement at an animal home "feed to snakes at a zoo"

  68. Boba Fett_1954
    Boba Fett_1954
    11 days ago

    Can I borrow your microwave

  69. Deon Brunette
    Deon Brunette
    11 days ago

    Can you freeze me and wake me up when all this woke rubbish is over.

  70. defproc
    11 days ago

    Weird Ed Edison disliked this video

  71. MrOneWorld123
    11 days ago

    10:55 "It's a Matter of how quickly you get a anti freezing agent ... in the cells" Getting a anti freezing agent injected doesn't sound quite healthy as well. :)

  72. a sef
    a sef
    12 days ago

    101😲😲😲 did you ask him his secret. He's more alert than my teenage son.

  73. Horatio Q
    Horatio Q
    12 days ago

    This was epic in so many ways

  74. Graham Allen
    Graham Allen
    12 days ago

    James lovelock 101...bloody twinkle in his eyes when talking science....brill ...messing with un health and safety stuff! Keep him a way from cern!

  75. Ethan B
    Ethan B
    12 days ago

    No! I will not take the bai...

  76. bocoy noiu
    bocoy noiu
    12 days ago

    "Frozen solid, and I mean FROZEN SOLID" has me bursting.

  77. Hánno
    12 days ago

    Thanks for doing that interview and preserving that hi-story.

  78. Rosman Nizar
    Rosman Nizar
    12 days ago

    Interesting indeed!

    1. bocoy noiu
      bocoy noiu
      12 days ago

      Immediately made me think of Maniac Mansion.

  79. calvingreene90
    12 days ago

    Zombie hamsters?

  80. calvingreene90
    12 days ago

    I wonder if this means we could send hamsters to Mars for use in low gravity health experiments before Elon sends people.

  81. Dee S
    Dee S
    13 days ago


  82. Benjamin Kline
    Benjamin Kline
    13 days ago

    Retirement at an animal home "feed to snakes at a zoo"

  83. Tsui Kagura
    Tsui Kagura
    13 days ago

    ' - So... I went to ask him about it.' I couldn't wipe off the smile from my face. Lovely video.

  84. Anzhel Tupareev
    Anzhel Tupareev
    13 days ago

    Tom did it again!

  85. Sebastian
    13 days ago

    What a plot twist. I don't know any other such inspiring channel on the UKwill. Materials like this one, leave me thinking about it till the end of the day.

  86. Almond19912
    13 days ago

    Wont pull many people in 2.4m viewers later...

  87. myles taylor
    myles taylor
    13 days ago

    Amazing guy

  88. myles taylor
    myles taylor
    13 days ago

    “Because physics”🤣

  89. niascand
    14 days ago

    Day of the Tentacle (1993)

  90. Viraj Mehra
    Viraj Mehra
    14 days ago

    This is by far, the most interesting video this channel has ever produced, which Is a feat in itself cus all of Tom's content are absolute bangers.

  91. Alicia Gervaise
    Alicia Gervaise
    14 days ago

    Fun fact: the title of this video also works as a tagline for Steins;Gate

  92. Otonashi Yuzuru
    Otonashi Yuzuru
    14 days ago

    That scientist has one heck of a memory for a 101 year old ! I don't even remember what I ate in the morning and I'm a quarter of his age ..geez

  93. BOYD1981
    14 days ago

    Immediately made me think of Maniac Mansion.

  94. Cre8tvMG
    14 days ago

    I LOVE THIS GUY!! So happy and still brilliant. I wish I could have had him as a friend growing up.

  95. Graeme Hill
    Graeme Hill
    14 days ago

    If you had any doubts about how meticulous Tom's research is they are gone now.

  96. Henry Berg
    Henry Berg
    15 days ago

    Break more rules

  97. Justin G
    Justin G
    15 days ago

    This is such a good video on so many levels. Thanks!

  98. Adrian Dacruz
    Adrian Dacruz
    15 days ago

    He's 101 and looks and speaks like he's 70. What a legend. What is his secret...? Microwave baths every day?

  99. WeirdBookshelf49
    15 days ago

    So SCP 055 has to do with radiation That could explain its antimemetic properties

  100. Oliver Foote
    Oliver Foote
    15 days ago

    Amazing video. I don’t have the guts to go out and interview people like that. But this really made me rethink and want to talk to more people.