Why did my candy bar melt? (And will my popcorn pop?)

MicrowaveChocolateDuring the World War II years, Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer leading the power tube division at defense contractor Raytheon, focused his efforts on the magnetron—the core tube that made radars so powerful they enabled U.S. bombers to spot periscopes on German submarines. Standing next to a magnetron one day, Spencer noticed that a candy bar in his pocket had melted. He then wondered, Could the energy from the radio waves be used to actually cook food? He placed some popcorn kernels near the tube and soon was munching on the world’s first microwave popcorn. In 1947, Raytheon put the first Radarange microwave ovens on the market—but it took another 20 years before the appliances were small enough to fit on a countertop.

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About the Author

Journalist and speaker Warren Berger realized that the majority of successful creatives and entrepreneurs he was interviewing over the years were great questioners. His wondering about “How can we all learn to do what they do?” led to this website and the writing of THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS (2018) and A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION (2014). Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts.

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