Essay by mana266University, Bachelor'sA-, May 2005

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These days, in many homes, it is virtually impossible to have a so called modern kitchen, without having a microwave oven in it. The microwave oven could probably occupy the second place (after the refrigerator), in terms of dependence, in the kitchen. This magical piece of technology has revolutionized the way people, and the food industries cook food. The microwave oven is only a natural evolution of technology; to fit into this fast-paced world. As in every evolutionary process, one must look back at the history of how it all began. Then for the scientifically-inclined; the heart of the microwave oven will be revealed, by exposing the physics that make it work. And last, we will present to the reader how these microwaves actually cook the food.

Like many of today's greatest inventions, the microwave oven was a by-product of another technology. The microwave oven did not come about as a result of someone trying to find a better, faster way to cook, but it was an accidental invention! In 1939, Two British scientists, H A H Boot and J T Randall developed the pulse type magnetron tube for radar, a tube that produces microwaves.

Installing magnetrons in Britain's radar system, the microwaves were able to spot Nazi warplanes on their way to bomb the British Isles.

A few years later, around 1945, during a radar-related research project; Dr. Percy Spencer, an engineer with the Raytheon Corporation, noticed something very unusual. Dr. Spencer was conducting some tests on the magnetron, when he discovered that the candy bar in his pocket had melted. This intrigued Dr. Spencer, so he tried another experiment. This time he placed some popcorn kernels near the magnetron and he watched as the popcorn cracked and popped all over his lab. An idea was born!...