Re: Death Rays

From: Natasha Vita-More (
Date: Sat Oct 28 2000 - 16:21:08 MDT

At 06:52 PM 10/27/00 -0700, Alex Heard wrote:

>I'd survey the concept from sci-fi origins to reputed attempts to build
one - by Nikola Tesla, for example. For this to work, though, I'd need to
do two things that ground this more in reality than sci-fi: find out if the
US government (or any government) ever spent much time researching the
concept. (Presumably it came up in the Star Wars context.) And figure out,
by talking to scientists now, if it would be possible to build a "good"
death ray today, if we only had the will!

>Can you think of anybody who might know something about any of this? I'd
also appreciate any thoughts about Death Raydom's colorful past - seminal
novels where death rays come up, other people like Tesla who supposedly
tried to build one, etc.

Hi Alex,

Telsa's power plant in Telluride, Colorado was the central backdrop for
some of our "power"ful events and exhibitions
( but his SFdeath ray gun did
attract the government's attention for other reasons. A brief summary at is a wee bit informative.

"We do not know if Tesla ever actually invented a death ray. There are
conspiracy theories that the U.S. government tried to develop a death ray
after the inventor's death by confiscating his notes. But that is all
unknown what we can best do is look at what we have of his notes and
experiments and then decide how close he came. There are hints that he was
working on a high-potential direct-current system for generating and
transmitting electricity for long distances. Direct current can be
transmitted better than alternating current over long distances but there
is no way of generating direct current at high voltages. There is no
indication that Tesla overcame this problem." Matthew McCleer Cash


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