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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

MIT Professor Creates DEATH RAY! by Ben Jones

I'm not making this up.

Each Wednesday, The Weekly Dig (my favorite rag) hits the newsstands. It’s generally a mixture of pop culture and local political coverage with a healthy dose of comedy thrown in. So when I saw a headline about a professor inventing a real DEATH RAY, I didn’t figure it would be a real article about MIT. I was wrong. An excerpt:

David Wallace, an MIT mechanical engineering professor, had rediscovered ancient Death Ray technology.

In 212 B.C., the Greek mathematician Archimedes supposedly defended the city of Syracuse from a Roman siege by training a mirror (aka Death Ray) on the approaching ships, setting them aflame. Several years later (September 2004), television

10 responses to “MIT Professor Creates DEATH RAY!”

  1. Robb Carr says:

    I read that story recently! is that not awesome?

  2. Robb Carr says:

    The story that is, not me reading it

  3. Yeah… Actually, when I first read the way the Archimides did it, I thought, hey it may well be possible. After all, people are using miniscule versions of the ‘death ray’ to heat up their food and what not. If you look at this guy’s blog:

    you’ll find in one of his entries the picnic cooker that works on the exact same principle as the death ray. Now that’s one cool and *useful* application of the death ray. Way to go, innovation!

  4. National Public Radio (NPR) did a piece on this earlier in the week. (You can listen to the three-minute clip here.) According to the story, the Discovery Channel TV show Myth Busters is bringing a small group of them to San Francisco today to attempt the same experiment under conditions more like what would have been found in Archimedes’s time: bronze mirrors rather than glass, boat made of appropriate wood, vessel floating on water (SF Bay) rather than on land… Stay tuned for what may be another chapter!

  5. GRRRR! My links didn’t work in my comment! GRRRR!

    OK, the NPR audio clip is here:

    And the page for the Myth Busters TV show is here:

  6. Josh Wang says:

    Thats awesome!! That article is halarious!

  7. So the next chapter was written this afternoon, and the myth still is not conclusively proven or dispelled. The MIT team today was able to produce smoldering from 150 feet away, and from 75 feet away ignited a small open flame that burned itself out. The MythBusters folks are leaning towards “myth”, but Professor Wallace is not underestimating Archimedes.

  8. … and one MORE local article, this one with more quotes and photos! smile

  9. Shikhar says:

    Hello people, with regrets I inform you that my Math II score is 660. It just came out today. So so long for MIT (me being an Indian and all). Hope to see you guys next year when I have probably better MathII score.

    btw,my chem was 730 though.

  10. Matt Bayer says:

    Well that article was comparable to articles I have read in my discover magazines, interesting find to prove the mythbusters wrong. It must’ve taken forever to coordinate all of those mirrors constantly. That’s demanding work.