Claim: Eggs and popcorn kernels can be cooked by placing them between activated cell phones.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2007]
One egg and 2 mobiles
65 minutes to call from one phone to the other
Set up something like in the graphic
We'll initiate the call between the mobiles to last for
Nothing will happen on the first
After 25 minutes the egg starts warming up, after
The egg is already hot; and after
If the microwave radiation emitted by the mobiles is capable to modify the proteins in the egg. Imagine what it can do with the proteins in our brains when we talk through the mobiles.
Origins: The introduction of many a new technology has been accompanied by claims that its use results in unforeseen, deleterious health effects — claims that have at times ranged from the completely loopy to the not entirely unfounded. This phenomenon has been particularly prevalent in recent years, as new, "invisible" technologies (e.g., microwave ovens that cook food without flames or heating elements, cell phones and computer networks that transmit and receive data without connecting wires) have replaced older and more familiar forms.
Back in 2008, Cardo Systems (a vendor of Bluetooth communication devices) crafted a stealth advertising video that appeared to show some curious experimenters successfully getting popcorn to pop simply by placing four cell phones in a ring around the kernels and activating them. As Cardo Systems' CEO later revealed, however, the video had been created through the use of editing tricks: popped popcorn was dropped onto the table from above the camera frame, and the kernels on the table were removed via digital editing:
In 2000, the web site Wymsey Village Web published a spoof article ("Weekend Eating: Mobile Cooking") about using two mobile phones to cook an egg. The implications of this information were ominously obvious: If cell phones could cook an egg inside its shell, imagine what they might be doing to your brain while you're holding them against your head! Charlie Ivermee, the founder of the site (which is presented as the online home of a fictional English village), explained that he penned the piece to poke fun at precisely those kinds of technological fears:
Photographs from the Pravda piece, along with some brief explanatory text (as replicated in the "Example" block above), were widely forwarded via
For those who remain skeptical that even though these articles may have been spoofs, their underlying principle isn't necessarily false, we note that every instance we could find of someone's attempting to replicate this experiment resulted in dismal failure. For example, in March 2006 food writer Paul Adams penned a New York Times column about his efforts to cook an egg with two cell phones:
But after 90 minutes, with the Treo's fresh battery running low, the egg was still cold. Maybe, I thought, this method uses some sort of telephonic radiation to coagulate protein without heat? I whacked it on the table and watched raw egg ooze out. I poached it later by conventional means.
Clearly, people are eager to have their technophobias confirmed, but a cellphone's power output is half a watt at most, less than a thousandth of what a typical microwave oven emits.
When we took the egg out, we were shocked to feel it was still cold. But, hey, the article didn't say it would be hot, just that it would be cooked.
So, we felt sorry for the egg one last time while Adam cracked its shell.
We were shocked to find that the egg was completely uncooked.
So prevalent was this hoax that the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, an international association of radio communications equipment manufacturers, put up a brief article on their web site explaining why the "cook an egg with two cell phones" rumor wasn't technically feasible:
In reality, an egg placed between two phones would have a much lower temperature rise because the egg is not thermally insulated and it would only absorb a small portion of the energy emitted.
Adams, Paul. "Take Egg Off Speed Dial." The New York Times. 8 March 2006. Goldenberg, David. "How to Cook an Egg (and Create a Viral Sensation)." Gelf Magazine. 7 February 2006.