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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

The Invisibility Machine

By August 1, 2006

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In a move that will excite fans of comics and science fiction, Dr. Ulf Leonhardt published research in the New Journal of Physics indicating that machines which can bend light around an object may be a theoretical possibility.

Leonhardt speculates that such a device would first be developed to avoid radar detection, then subsequently advance to affect the electromagnetic waves of mobile phones. (My personal dream: mounting such devices on the top of a movie theater to create a true "phone free zone.") From there, it is merely a matter of degree until devices could be designed which would bend waves in the visible light spectrum, such as the cloaking devices of Star Trek, the invisibility of the alien in Predator, or the superheroic power of the Fantastic Four's Sue Storm (a.k.a. the Invisible Woman).

Despite my avid interest in science fiction (or perhaps because of that interest), I remain skeptical of most such sensational claims. This, along with many others, go firmly into my "I'll Believe It When I See It" column. Still, it's fun to dream of such science on such a magical level...

Articles on the Theoretical Invisibility Machine:


August 7, 2006 at 11:56 am
(1) Vivian says:

Check out “The Philadelphia Experiment!” Whether or not you believe it really happened it is fascinating.

March 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm
(2) Bailey Trwein says:

What exactly was the Philadelphia Experament?

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