In 1946, an engineer was working near a piece of equipment known as a magnetron which is part of a radar system when he noticed that the radar emission at microwave frequencies melted the snack bar he had stashed in his pocket. Legends disagree as to whether it was a peanut cluster bar or a chocolate one, but the fact remains that rather than just mourning the loss of his snack, he did a little investigating.

He and his coworkers realized that focused beams of microwave emission—that’s waves of energy at frequencies near the radio frequency regime—will cause polar or electrically asymmetric molecules like water in food to rotate. This rotation produces thermal energy (aka heat) which then can quickly and nearly uniformly heat the food.

The microwave was born and dinnertime around the world saw a revolution. The first thing those engineers tried to cook was popcorn. The second thing was an egg which, of course, exploded in their faces. 

Now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 97% of households in the United States have a microwave. But how much does the average household understand how a microwave works? What misconceptions about our microwave use persist? Let’s take a look at four microwave myths that science has proven false.

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