A new generation of tabletop accelerators has the potential to accelerate electrons to near the speed of light, without the need for gigantic machines like the Large Hadron Collider. But that all-important energy beam is too spread out for optimal performance. An international team of physicists has figured out a way…
Humans have long dreamed of discovering intelligent life beyond Earth. But truth is, we have no way of knowing if an alien civilization would be friendly or hostile. Should we have the rotten luck of discovering the Borg, we’ll need to get our collective asses into hiding quickly—and a team of astronomers thinks they…
Researchers have developed a laser that spots illness-inducing bacteria before it makes you sick.
What’s the most powerful weapon in the sci-fi universe? How does a lightsaber in Star Wars compare to the energy sword of Halo? What about a Death Star vs Dr. Who’s reality bomb? And how do they match up with a real life nuclear bomb? Foundation Digital made this infographic for Fat Wallet detailing the top sci-fi…
There’s probably a good reason—involving lawsuits and lawyers—why toymakers don’t include working superlasers on their Death Star playsets. But since Patrick Priebe doesn’t plan on selling his Death Star replica to the public, he had no qualms about including a terrifying 84-watt laser.
Lasers are the future of warfare. So it might come as a surprise to many Americans that the US military first used a laser to shoot a drone out of the sky as early as 1973.
The mineral veins that crisscross through the rock around this ridge tell an important story about Mars’ ancient past. So of course the Curiosity rover shot them with a laser.
Everybody knows not to shine laser pointers in your eye. They could damage your vision! (Emphasis on could, since your eye’s blink reflex would probably protect your retina.) But what if you were an evil villain determined to make a death ray? How many laser pointers would it take to create a deadly weapon?
The offers began arriving by email in January: a chance at clearer vision for the special price of US$299 per eye. Over the next four months, I received 20 ads from the same company – each offering the same deal for the “safe, FDA approved” surgery.
A research team from Harvard University has made pig-skin lasers. Here’s how they did it—and perhaps more importantly, why.
Just because you can make something at home, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Today’s example? A laser ‘shotgun’ that uses a lens to combine eight 5W lasers into something that should definitely spice up your next PowerPoint.
A bright street lamp can ruin a night of stargazing, saturating your retinas with light and washing out the comparatively faint glow of constellations and meteors. Here's a handy hack you can use the next time you need to put one temporarily (and reversibly) out of business, courtesy of NASA astronaut Don Pettit.
In our new Scientific Guide to Celebration, we'll teach you how to harness the power of science for enhancing all your celebratory moments. Today, learn how to deck a Christmas tree using the power of physics!
The Navy's ship-mounted laser cannon has been a long time coming, notes Brian Resnick, who chronicles the 50-year history of the military's "dream" project. "The LASER may be the biggest breakthrough in the weapons area since the atomic bomb," the head of the Army Ordnance Missile Command wrote in 1962.
The holidays are upon us, and and nothing says "Happy Holidays" like the smiles on the faces of loved ones when they unwrap a shiny new toy. From the tiniest pieces of colorful plastic to elaborate collectors items to freaking lasers, here are some choice gifting toys for girls and boys of all ages.
A pair of Russian scientists are proposing a radical new propulsion technique that would accelerate a rocket while in flight, by using a ground-based laser. Should it work, it could push aircraft to go beyond Mach 10.
Contrary to what's portrayed in scifi, short bursts of laser pulses travel at speeds far too fast for the human eye to see. But what would it look like if we could film it in slow motion? Thanks to a team of physicists from the Polish Academy of Sciences, we now have the video evidence.
Laser physicists from Australia have built a reversible tractor beam capable of retrieving tiny particles. It's nowhere near as strong as the beams portrayed in scifi, but it's the first long-distance optical tractor beam capable of moving particles one fifth of a millimeter in diameter a distance of up to 20cm.…
Besides beaming us back rare astronomy photos, one of the visually cooler duties the Curiosity rover has up on Mars is firing its lasers at rocks it encounters in its path. Here's the first footage it's ever sent back of just how that process works.