In all my years of sci-fi fandom there is one weapon that stands out in my mind above them all. Sure blasters, photon torpedoes and phasers are all well and good, but for my money no other weapon in all of sci-fidom is as cool as the lightsaber. The weapon captured my imagination as a kid leading to many hours of swinging a stick around while making the trademark VOOM sound, and I guarantee that I am far from alone.
Well guess what people, that could be a reality sooner than you think. Scientists at Harvard and MIT are reporting that they have actually found a way to bind protons together so that they behave like a solid object. Look, I am a pop culture nerd, but I bombed at science so maybe I should let them explain it.
“Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless and do not interact,” said Harvard university physics professor Mikhail Lukin. “What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they act as though they have mass, and bind together to form molecules.
“It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers. When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”
The report does go on to say that the scientists have yet to use this process to try and make an actual lightsaber, but I’m sure that if I kidnap the right person and set up a makeshift lab in my…uh, what? Uh, forget that you just read that.
Source: The Guardian