I promise this story about microwaves is interesting.

čas přidán 16. 05. 2021
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: • James Lovelock on...

On his greatest epiphany: • James Lovelock di...

An extended 90-minute interview from the Lovelock Centenary Conference: • Tim Lenton interv...


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.org/10.1113/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...

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  • An update from July 2022: James Lovelock passed away, surrounded by family, on his 103rd birthday. I'm very grateful to have been able to interview him, and my deepest condolences to his family. Rest in peace. His obituary is worth reading, because it covers so much: www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/27/james-lovelock-obituary

    • I just wanted to know an interesting story about microwaves but now I'm sad. May he rest in peace.

    • You getting this interview was a gift. RIP

    • And he died on his 103rd birthday. This world needs more people like him (the mice are much less enthusiastic).

    • What a cracking old lad. Bright as a button at 101years. Great that he got to tell the story of this bit of his career and save it for posterity. RIP.

    • He had a great life. 👍

  • A 101 year old scientist explaining his crazy experiments is the best smile I ever saw.

    • inventor*

    • @TheKingOfFailure think I heard "wood"

    • agree and must add as he proudly said: radder INVENTOR tha scientist

    • I just realized this is where the joke where cartoon characters warm a frozen character back to life came from.

    • Lovelock was just a BIT more than "a crazy scientist". 😏

  • RIP James, died on his 103rd birthday yesterday. The most interesting scientist I'd never heard of until Tom introduced us all.

  • In my opinion, the most unbelievable part about the original Percy Spencer story of how he invented microwaves is that he had a candy bar in his pocket and when it melted he thought "oh, this must be the radar's fault" and not "Oh, I'm an idiot for leaving a candy bar in my pocket".

    • Imagine, that we could not have microwaves if Percy was more hungry that day, and ate his bar earlier :)

    • People at the time knew EM radiation can heat up thing so it wasnt sth out of the extraordinary, also he could try different thing that could melt his bar until pinpoint radar

    • My father was a radar engineer for GE Aerospace years ago and was exposed to a radar that he was working on. Not too long after that, he developed colon cancer and eventually developed a form of leukemia found in children. He passed away from cancer at the age of 64. I have spent the last 40 years working in the telecommunications industry and always use extreme caution when working with or around RF or Laser technology.

    • If the candy bar actually melted from microwave heat he would likely have had a significant burn, as it would have been cooking him as well.

    • @Carl Cushman Hybels Definitely. It's often said that the sound of science is something like "Eureka!" but in practice it's really more like "I wonder..."

  • I've never seen someone smile so brightly from saying "I put a potato in it, and baked it"

    • While watching this, visions of the film "Frankenstein" came to mind. Instead of lightning, microwaves were used, and instead of an assembled human, whole hamsters were used. The light bulbs spontaneously glowing was evocative. "I'ts alive! It's alive!"

    • Bake 'em, smash 'em, put 'em in a stew

    • @Nick Clegg's Promise I've eaten potatoes and sweet potatoes baked in a microwave oven. They're delicious!

    • @Weeblon self aware beauty mark

    • @R that's just the understated British way of saying it was quite good.

  • Forget hamsters. How does he stay so incredibly young and clear-headed at 101? Amazing!

    • secret is to get exposed to microwaves at very young age.

    • Because from 1966 -1981 he took a sabbatical from life in a deep freeze so died aged 88, though some say he's in the Coop Funeral Services back chiller to this day.

    • Perfect genes and healthy life

    • Potatoes

  • I can't think of a single reason why a story about microwaves wouldn't be immensely interesting!

    • bahahahhah.

    • i must catch up on your vids,.!!

    • I clicked on the video but, with the attention span of a goldfish with adhd, I would have moved on but for seeing your endorsement (the mere fact that you commented on it).

    • Haha you would

  • I heard about James Lovelock's passing and came straight to this video. The interview is so warm and personable, he really was a treasure. Thanks for showcasing this piece of history.

    • @Militant Vegan 🔫🦆 stop crying like a baby and have some cheese boy🤣

    • @Raven4K I’m saying 😭

    • wait they were microwaving hamster's?

    • He had this air of wise but fun grandfather with him. RIP Mr. Lovelock

  • This guy was literally watching technology evolve before his eyes

    • @Raven4K ... those are atoms.

    • @Gappl nope but they do come in many different types silly you have hydrogen and oxygen and so on and so forth

    • @Raven4K size is a very important factor to this, we are bigger, but molecules don’t get bigger.

    • He wasn’t just watching he was helping evolve it further

    • @Raven4K 10:18

  • wow that guy was SHARP for 101. unbelievable

  • Thank you Tom. That was what you might call public service broadcasting. "Nobody has asked me about that before". Priceless.

    • I have to imagine he would often get interviews through the decades on his many many important projects. He must have been quite puzzled to be 101 and be called about the hamster reanimation work of all things! So glad we have him on the record about it. Truly amazing. But he did invent the microwave in the course of it!

  • Imagine dying from hypothermia and a doctor just puts you into a microwave for 5 minutes.

    • I imagine they sedated the hamsters before freezing them (was sedation very common back then?) …hopefully the hamsters didn’t feel hypothermia

    • And you hear it "ding!" when you're ready

  • That 101-year-dude looks like a healthy and clear minded 80 year old, I'm impressed. All the best for him!

    • Microwave Radiation is good for you

    • Maybe we should all use our microwaves with the door open once in a while

    • Maybe its from radiation exposure

    • @Helen Tee yes thats why i phrased at like that. Genes form the parimeters, but how alive and energetic you are at a particular age is completely in your control. Diet and lifestyle give more than enough for majority of population to live well. Even something like dementia is partially in your control, which is why its being referred to informally as rype 3 diabetes

  • 5:40 you have no idea how shocked and happy I was hearing him say this bit. I didn't expect him to be alive still and I'm sure you made his day with the interview.

    • same!

    • @mknote This is the guy. This is the guy who’s to blame.

    • BigScriptus Sadly, less than a month after you said that, it's no longer true.

  • Rest in peace to James Lovelock. A scientist, an educator, father of the Gaia Theory and of course microwaves. May his legacy live on.

  • The most unbelievable thing about this story is that Lovelock put a potato in a microwave and it came out perfectly cooked, and not molten lava on the outside and ice cold on the inside.

    • Well, it was “perfectly alright,” not necessarily perfectly cooked, haha

  • This is incredible journalism! You brought a story back to life and now it is very well documented for the future and even with a live record from the main scientist involved!

  • James looked as if he had always been so passionate in all his life trying to invent new things and put things all together and tinker with stuff. And the genuine smile he had on his face throughout the whole interview says it all. Rest in peace James Lovelock, you made a big and good difference on the world. Thanks Tom for unravelling this amazing story too.

  • I can't believe the fact that this story could have been completely lost to history if Tom hadn't stumbled upon a random line.

    • @h-Films or maybe they're struggling with the demographics on this video

    • @Dave Norton "The" "Come" "Mk" english is perhaps not a bot's strength

    • @kezzyhko :(

    • now imagine how many such stories were lost, because noone stumbled upon them

    • Please report bots everyone 🙏 in all social media platform. The content creators can't do much while the platforms does nothing, report them and help the algorithms delete it so no one gets scammed.

  • Such an interesting Scientist, his death is a tremendous loss. RIP James Lovelock.

  • The fact he messed around with microwaves back in the day, AND is still so mentally together at 101 is the most amazing thing about this video.

    • Let that be a bit of education about cell phone damage. Not so real.

    • Not sure about the connection.

  • you can tell how excited lovelock was to finally talk about his research with someone who was genuinely interested

  • I had the biggest smille when Dr.James Lovelock was speaking with that happy face about his work.

  • I just read on wikipedia that James Lovelock sadly passed away. I immediately thought of this video and what a nice (and extremely intelligent) person he was.

  • Mr. Lovelock is by far be the healthiest clearest-minded 101 year old I've ever seen, that alone was incredible.

    • @nosville22 If you don't use it you lose it. I'm still learning every day, and I'm almost 70 years old.

    • training your brain your whole life will do that the really nice thing is how happy he seemed to be talking about that

    • He died yesterday sadly :(

    • I'm glad I'm not the only one who was thinking this

  • My word, James Lovelock was in incredible shape and incredibly sharp for 101 years old. May he rest in peace.

  • Incredible history. RIP James Lovelock. I'm astonished how well he was at his 100's even he remembered the stuff he did 50 years ago.

  • This is genuinely the nuttiest story I've ever heard and I'm not surprised it came from you Tom

  • Rest in peace James Lovelock, you were an amazing person, thank you

  • Loved that interview with James. His recall was amazing, thanks for sharing the interview and obituary.

  • man's 101 years old and can still speak perfectly and recall the exact story. legend

    • Thought the same

    • best use of youtube ive seen in a while. Adorable 101 year old genius perfectly recalls his super science invention.

    • And he survived all that radiation.

    • To be fair, the most common forms of dementia typically present with anterograde amnesia and older memories remain well intact (unless it's able to progress enough). Not saying this guy has dementia, but we can't say he doesn't either.

    • RIP to a real one

  • RIP James Lovelock, died today on his 103rd birthday - he was a pioneer, and I'm so grateful to this video for introducing me to his work

  • Rest in peace James. 😢May Gaia be with you. 🌍 I wish we had more brilliant, enthusiastic and positively thinking minds like him everywhere.

  • I remember someone telling me that in WW2 a Japanese scientist used enormous microwave ‘ovens’ to experiment on people, mostly Koreans. The horrors of war… sometimes history is a horror story but not something we may ever forget.

  • Lovelock was an incredible individual. I did once have the pleasure of hearing a lecture from him. Sadly missed

  • May he rest in peace what a true human he was

  • he's doing remarkably well for 101 years old

    • life force of a thousand hamsters 😔

    • Understatement of the year. Incredible bloke give him a knighthood already

    • Sure is

    • Just what I thought he's as sharp as a tack and looks great. I would have guessed 70

    • Looks great and seems very sharp! What a guy.

  • I genuinely think this is one of the best videos you've ever done. It's certainly my personal favorite.

  • What a amazing guy. Glad he got to live a long and happy life and to enjoy these experiments he was apart of and the smile he has telling others

  • James Lovelock sadly died today, on his 103rd birthday. RIP

  • The way he describes his experiments with such detail, and enthusiasm is just amazing.

  • So wholesome to see him speak so fondly about his work and colleague friends.

  • 101 year old guy is more coherent than me. What an absolutely incredible dude

    • @R D My grandma definitely falls into that latter category. She's beginning to slip now, but she's comfortably into her 90's. She's got a sharp wit still though.

    • @R D Seems like culture plays a big role in how someone ages.

    • Yaaaap....

    • @R D probably has got to do with a combination of diet, iq, activities and stress that makes you healthier later in life.

    • My position involves working with older demographics. The correlation of reduced coherence and age is really not a smooth as you'd expect. I've talked to 55 year olds that hardly remember what I explained 30 seconds ago, and I've talked to 90 year olds that I don't have to explain anything to because they did their own research already. It's really changed my perspective on aging.

  • I only watched this a few days ago and have just seen today’s news headline that James Lovelock has sadly passed away on his 103rd birthday. I’m so glad you were able to interview him.

  • I never expected the backstory of the microwave to be this interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  • Your 101 scientist is absolutely a lovely person. I'm so pleased that you had a chance to meet him. I find your shows such a pleasure and your dedication for being as accurate as possible a pleasure. Thank you for the knowledge and entertaining way you present it.

  • When Tom says "I promise it will be interesting", I just listen because I know it will be amazing!

  • Rest in piece James. E. Lovelock, one of Britain's great scientists

  • Imagine being a top of the line scientist, doing all kinds of research, contributing a lot of things to science and then somebody knocks your door asking "Sir did you, by any chance, microwave hamsters?"

    • He certainly seemed to be delighted, and was delightful.

    • @Buğra Sevinç Bi anda aklıma gelen birşey komiğime gitti yoksa maksat kötülemek falan değil yani

    • @Gold Zero Adam bir saat adamın yaptığı araştırmayı anlattı, neden öyle birşey düşündün?

    • @Iiii Vvvv That sounds very real.

    • Me: 6:26 👁👄👁

  • My dad was the local electronics engineer in our area and supplied microwaves to local chip shops. He got called out to one when they were complaining about it taking longer to heat food. It was a small chip shop and they didn't have space to open the microwave door so just cut the window and front mesh out. As far as I know no-one got organs cooked but it was a bit dodgy.

  • A truly fascinating individual! May he rest in peace

  • This was inspiring. Thanks Tom, great work. I wonder how you found him. I'm never able to find anything about the writers on some old law papers. Maybe he wasn't that hard to find.

  • I love how happy he is while telling this story

  • By the Universe, you good Sir delivered on your promise, that was fascinating. It was magical to watch the gentleman exude a pure love of science. Not only that, I only know of two people other than this gentleman who can raise the dead, and they’re kinda the same person. That was incredible that the hamsters survived.

  • James Lovelock is the spriteliest 101 year old that I have ever seen. What a privilege to hear his story. Thanks Tom.

    • And now he'll rest in peace

    • How many have you seen?

    • @Eddyspeeder yes! Wouldn't that be a joy?!

    • @Nick Clegg's Promise "I heard you've been working on a new kind of battery. How's that working out?" "Well... I would say it's..."

    • After having been microwaved in that lab no less! :D

  • I love that 70 years later he remembered so many details.

  • This is the third time I've watched this and it still makes me smile. Mr. Lovelock is adorable when he talks about the light bulbs lighting randomly from the radiation bouncing around the room. I love everything about this piece.

  • thank you for interviewing and sharing james story with millions! his life shall forever live on thanks to you tom

  • Not only interesting but I'm blown away the guy was still alive and you were lucky enough to speak with him. This is top tier CS-tv.

  • Him seeing and knowing that there is a ton of people interested in his experiments gave him joy

  • "So I went to ask him about it..." I nearly spit out my tea with surprise. What a great reveal. What a great story!

    • @Matasa that also did not aged well

    • This

    • @cloverlovania well, we all have to go eventually, but he lived to 103, so not bad at all. He got the Queen’s letter and all.

    • @Matasa this did not age well. :(

    • And I'm happy to note that as of now, in middle of 2022, Dr. James Lovelock is very much alive at the ripe old age of 102!

  • Rest in peace to him, still an incredible video, incredibly timed

  • I have watched Lovelock in a documentary called "Going Circular" on a flight recently and it was kind of centered around his Gaia Theory and they did mention the NASA story and his electron capturing inventions resulting in finding CFC in the atmosphere and finding out about the Ozone Hole, but nowhere was it mentioned about this interesting microwave story. I believe that is why he got this excited. I mean, he would be excited regardless, I think. Anyways, he is a great protaganist scientist/inventor for that documentary as well as this story in this video.

  • I loved this video. You absolutely made James Lovelock's day. He's darling. As a novelist, I've included a Faraday cage in one of my books. I was blown away by how many people reacted with, "A what?" I've enjoyed telling them that they probably have one in their homes.

  • I remember the radar range, some homes had them of course they weren’t cheap. As for the microwave I heard they were testing a radar and it cooked someone’s chocolate bar😂

  • Tom Scott doesn't have to "promise" that any video he puts up will be interesting. Interest & passion for any topic exudes from his face & is a joy to watch, & learn something along the way.

  • I don't think I've ever seen the "historical scientist who discovered this" is actually still alive and willing to tell the story before. Really unique and incredible story, Tom

    • Mashallah

    • Jax1 how cool is this? We need more of it Tom! I think that most scientists will talk at length and with great enthusiasm about their interests.

  • The smile I see and excitement I see on lovelocks face seems like you asking him those questions made his entire world this isamazing to see

  • What a fantastic story. It must have been brilliant to meet Lovelock before his passing.

  • how lucky you and we are, that Lovelock was still alive at the time and that we could get an interview from him !

  • This is genuinely fascinating. I had no idea that reanimation from complete freezing was possible at all.

  • Extremely sharp and mind active at 101yrs old, memories still there almost intact. This is amazing. I hope this video gets saved for posterity forever. Bet you made him so very happy! You can see how pleased he is to talk about it ❤

  • Lovelock had a classic mad scientist moment where his experiment was doing weird stuff to his room, like lighting up the lamps and making things catch on fire, while reanimating a dead animal.

    • @Nothing Is Real 8:32 Pound notes.

    • @Chris Powers yep. I was thinking, 200 years prior and everyone would be shouting "demons".

    • Steins;gate is probably real

    • El Psy Kongroo

    • EXTRA JERKY El psy congroo

  • This is not only interesting, it is a lovely story. Thanks Tom.

  • Thank you so much for saving and recording this awesome historically interesting story.

  • Immense respect for this episode in special, thank you dearly.

  • I am most impressed by how sharp his mind and memory is at that age. My 82 year old dad can't remember what he told me yesterday...

  • A truly amazing story and one that I hope everyone agrees needed to be more widely shared. Condolences to Sir Lovelocks family and friends.

  • Can we just appreciate the fact that Tom Scott got this amazing interview with this legend. I bet we would never had the right answer without him!

    • I'm thrilled that the guy at his age has such a sharp mind and is able to recall these things so clearly.

    • I'm envious. Dr. Lovelock seems absolutely charming. It would be a pleasure to listen to him talk for hours.

    • Best CS-tvr without exception..

  • RIP James, bloody legend

  • This was such an interesting video. I was sad when it ended!!! Condolences to James’family.

  • Yes - this story was truly interesting and you did a nice job laying it out - I started my engineering career in the ‘80s mostly with RF but also programming in machine language assembler - the progression of knowledge, expertise & practical applications from then to now is truly astonishing - working around RF and satellite dishes all those years my colleagues often asked each other a common question “do you have any Sons?” - the answer is usually “no, I have all daughters” - the informal theory among this trade is that we all get “cooked” a bit in such a way that affects our ability to reproduce. (We are not biologists, so we have no idea if this theory holds water)

  • Literal chills and a smile at the same time.

  • Wow what a charismatic old guy! RIP just leaded that he passed very recently, with his work he most likely impacted almost everyone's quality of life, absolute legend

  • When Tom started listing Lovelocks accomplishments I almost got choked up. Dude’s had multiple history changing inventions and I’ve never heard of him. Legend by any sense of the word.

  • “…because _physics_ …” has got to be one of my favorite descriptions of engineering

  • He does actually mention his microwave in one of the Gaia books. He was using it to warm-up his lunch.

  • I love how happy and enthusiastically he spoke of his experiences and being soo pleased to share them. I hope I'm as sharp as him at that age. RIP James

  • Thank you Mr LoveLock for helping people burn popcorn for the past 40 years

  • Mr. Lovelock is a treasure. Watching him reminisce about what was clearly good times for him, and simultaneously an important discovery in multiple ways. Thank you for all the contributions you've made to our collective knowledge.

  • “So I decided to ask him about it” was the biggest twist, I wasn’t expecting a 1950s scientist to still be living. Just goes to show how important it is to record knowledge while we still can

    • and to be speaking better with more information then myself or anyone i run into daily, he's so inquisitive, detailed and fast for 101 years old, its amazing to see hes in such good health.

    • Indeed. After all, "the only difference between Science and screwing around is writing it down"

    • @Colin Antink In regards to written information, the knowledge is still ready to be harnessed and we have Hawking to thank for this. RIP

    • @Alias of an alias sadly. Had*. RIP Stephen Hawking :(

  • That fact his mind was so sharp at that age is amazing. Big science brain kept on trucking

  • All I can say is Tom did deliver on his promise!😅

  • That's as hilarious as it is fascinating as it is brilliant. Great film. Thank you Tom and James.

  • James Lovelock being still alive for this video is the biggest plot twist I've ever seen.

  • I appreciate your citations! and as always, love your well researched videos....

  • Mr. Lovelock seems just so happy to be talking about this, it’s heartwarming and inspiring that he’s still so passionate after so many decades.

    • I too am passionate when I experiment on the puppies I have procured for lab testing. It’s always unfortunate when one of them gets burnt or irradiated, believe it or not some of them even die! It doesn’t keep me down for long though because I just love science so much and it’s all for a good cause right? These puppies are giving their lives so one day we can go to another star system for some reason, I know they can’t talk but I always imagine that if they could they’d understand and think it’s for the greater good!

    • @fex144 Welcome to late stage capitalism

    • @Absolute Focus with peta thriving , they will be seeking me out for answers, if i try freezing and then reviving the frozen hamster.

    • @Tommy Williamson well said

    • Old people love to talk about their experiences. To everyone, talk to your grandparents while you still can. They have tons of interesting tales to tell and it'll all be lost to time. Talk to your parents too.

  • Awesome interview! Could do a whole series on retired scientists and old school tech! How cool 👍

  • Damn that guy had a really good memory for 101! Sad to see he left us

  • came back here after finding out James Lovelock died on his 103rd birthday. rest in peace legend