Friday, May 26, 2006

What Would You Do if You Were Invisible...?

Nothing edifying I imagine...

Scientists are developing an "invisibility cloak" in the spirit of the one worn by Harry Potter. They believe that it is indeed possible --though they say that it will be heavier than a cloak and be more of a shield...

"Researchers in England and the United States think they know how to do that. They are laying out the blueprint and calling for help in developing the exotic materials needed to build a cloak.

The keys are special manmade materials, unlike any in nature or the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These materials are intended to steer light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation around an object, rendering it as invisible as something tucked into a hole in space.

"Is it science fiction? Well, it's theory and that already is not science fiction. It's theoretically possible to do all these Harry Potter things, but what's standing in the way is our engineering capabilities," said John Pendry, a physicist at the Imperial College London.

Details of the study, which Pendry co-wrote, appear in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science. Scientists not involved in the work said it presents a solid case for making invisibility an attainable goal.

"This is very interesting science and a very interesting idea and it is supported on a great mathematical and physical basis," said Nader Engheta, a professor of electrical and systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Engheta has done his own work on invisibility using novel materials called metamaterials.

Pendry and his co-authors also propose using metamaterials because they can be tuned to bend electromagnetic radiation -- radio waves and visible light, for example -- in any direction. A cloak made of those materials, with a structure designed down to the submicroscopic scale, would neither reflect light nor cast a shadow...." (source)

I know, I know...if they can pull it off it would be pretty wild --and maybe I'm just being a little closed-minded, but I can't really think of anything *good* that could come of this and I can think of lots of shady things...

(H/T: Liz)

No comments: