FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 08, 2011

New ChemMatters< video demystifies microwave magic

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2011 — The magic hidden inside microwave ovens, those convenient cooking appliances found in millions of kitchen and restaurants, gets a long-overdue airing in the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning Bytesize Science podcast series.

The high-definition video, “How do Microwaves Work?” is available without charge at and on the Bytesize Science podcast on iTunes. Based on an article in the December 2010 issue of ChemMatters, ACS’s quarterly magazine for high school students, the video explains how microwaves cook food at speeds that put stovetops and ovens to shame.

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Hint: Press the palms of your hands together. Firmly. And now rub, fast. Feel the heat from the friction? Microwaves cause water molecules to move inside food. As the molecules move, they bump against one another, which generates heat. As a result, microwave energy is converted to thermal energy, which heats and cooks food.

ChemMatters has been demystifying the chemistry in our everyday lives for the past 28 years. Published quarterly by the ACS Office of High School Chemistry, each issue contains readable articles about the chemistry used in everyday life and is of interest to high school students and their teachers.

For additional entertaining video podcasts from ACS, visit

The Bytesize Science series is produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs.


Credit: American Chemical Society