Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Inching Closer to Disappearance

I know I wasn't alone – joined, I'm sure, by any number of science, science fiction, or Harry Potter enthusiasts – in being enthralled by the advances announced last week in reversing refraction, bringing us just a bit closer to the realization of some form of "invisibility cloak." Cloak or not, the other applications both currently realizable or potential are staggering. (Some of those applications were discussed on Talk of the Nation's Science Friday (with host Ira Flatow who always sounds to me uncannily like Groucho Marx)) .

As with most scientific achievements, this advance is no revolution, just a step closer, employing wavelengths visible to humans. Previously scientists at Duke University were able to "cloak" an object from (longer wavelength) microwaves. (Duke subsequently published a lighter discussion of those results and their implications on their web site.

Regardless of the lack of complete revolution or fully realized invisibility, nerds everywhere had to be giddy. But careful, don't play an extra game of Dungeons & Dragons to celebrate, John McCain will get pissed.


derya said...

I heard Michio Kaku talk about this at the planetarium some months ago and it blew my mind. He also told us that teleportation is no longer a science fiction and the world record is for teleporting light particles over 100 miles from one canary island to another. Its only at the quantum level right now, but still *awesome*

Paul Hornschemeier said...

One of those achievements for which "awesome," in its traditional strength, was made.That's frightening and infinitely exciting...