Dr Oz & Bill Nye the Science Guy: Extreme Myths Busted


Doctor Oz was joined by Bill Nye the Science Guy, host of Stuff Happens with Bill Nye, in a segment called Extreme Myths Busted.  Some of the most extreme myths were discussed: like is it safe to stand in front of a microwave while it is on, can a human voice or opera singer break glass and will high voltage electricity kill you?  Extreme Myths Busted

Myth #1: It Is Dangerous to Stand in Front of the Microwave

BUSTED!  It is not dangerous to stand in front of the microwave.  The years of hearing my mother tell  me not to stand in front of the microwave because it emits dangerous radiation was all for naught!  Dr Oz and Billy Nye stood in front of the microwave with pieces of aluminum foil and put another piece of aluminum foil inside the microwave.  There were lots of lightening and sparks from the aluminum in the microwave, but no sparks on the pieces of aluminum foil they held outside of the oven.  The reason the microwave radiation does not come through is because the glass door on microwaves has a screen that absorbs the micro waves.  The waves hit the metal screen and get pulled down around the frame of the oven.  And the microwave turns off at the speed of light when you open the door, so you aren’t exposed.

Myth #2: Human Voice Can Shatter Glass

Confirmed!!!  As a child, we all noticed that if we wet our finger and dragged it around the rim of a glass, it made a sound that would annoy everyone around us.  That humming sound is caused by a vibration at the natural frequency of the glass.  Jaimie, a singer, sang a note that was the exact same natural frequency as the glass, and sure enough, the glass shattered.  It is hard to do because you have to sing the note loud enough, around 117 decibels in order to shatter the glass – but Doctor Oz was able to shatter the glass too, with the help of a microphone.

Myth #3: High Voltage Electricity Will Kill You

BUSTED!!!  Bill Nye took a pickle and put 2 electrodes in it attached to a variable transformer, and put a large amount of electricity into the pickle.  There was some yellow, smoke and sizzling on the pickle when set to 110 volts, but this was mainly due to the high current of 10 amps of electricity in conjunction with the sodium and vinegar in the pickle.  Next, Dr Oz put a few foil pie pans on a volunteers head and had her touch a metal ball with 500,000 volts of electricity.  The aluminum pie pans went flying off of her head and her hair did stand up, but she was fine.  Bill Nye said she was a particularly good volunteer because she has shoulder length blonde hair.



  1. Concerned says

    Myth #3 represents one of the many concerns I have had about the Dr. OZ show in which he provides incomplete information, and in this case, it was potentially dangerous.

    While it is true that it is the amount of current that passes through a person’s body that can cause flesh to burn, a high-voltage, low current jolt of electricity can cause muscle’s to spasm, including those of the heart. The reason the blonde volunteer wasn’t affected by the 500,000 volts was that she had already touched the top of the metal ball before the generator was turned on. She was not grounded, so the voltage caused a very small current to travel over the surface of her body as her body became charged to the same 500,000 volts. If someone had then touched her with a grounded object, she would have felt a major jolt, enough to make her jump, or even to stop her heart. The same thing would have occurred if the high voltage generator was first started up, then she touched it. Since the high voltage generator had an extremely low current capacity, it could not cause a high enough current to burn flesh.

    Where the real problem comes is the impression the segment gives that any high voltage is safe to touch. It would not be unrealistic to imagine a kid seeing the segment, then ignoring the WARNING HIGH VOLTAGE sign at a substation and climbing the fence to explore. The high voltage at a substation, usually in the 3,000 to 7,200 volt range, has a very high current capacity and would immediately fry anyone touching it.

    It would not have taken much additional time on the segment to explain why the 500,000 volts weren’t hurting the volunteer and the difference between being charged with static electricity and having current flowing through your body. This is one segment that would have been better left undone.

  2. Rainie Cole says

    I was relieved to hear it’s okay to stand in front of the microwave. My question is what about the side vents and rear vents. I can see light and feel waves coming out. That can’t be good for you to be around, can it?

  3. DianeC says

    My father, a former USAF Radar technician, bought my mother a “Radar range” and explained to me that the micro-waves used in ovens are short and short lived. They bounce off the metal within the oven and are absorbed by the water (in food). They are “fat” and cannot fit through the holes in the perforated door window, or through the vents or cracks (unless gaping). The air-vents and fan are necessary to dissipate the heat out of the oven. What you are feeling is the air. You can see light because light waves are”skinny”.

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