Sound Wave
Light, Sound and Waves

Hearing microwaves

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

During the Second World War, radio operators reported being able to perceive microwaves as auditory stimuli. The effect has been recreated under laboratory conditions and a number of people reported buzzing or knocking sounds when exposed to microwaves. It is thought that the sound is produced because microwaves can cause a small heating effect in tissue in the head leading to thermal expansion that generates an audible pressure wave.


2023 IOP Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more