Friday, May 26, 2006


What a Wonderful, Modern Age We Live in

The BBC reports that scientists are a year and a half from producing a "cloaking device" first for radar and, later, light (probably much later). I remain a bit skeptical, but it does sound plausible. Money quotes:

Two separate teams, including Professor Pendry's, have outlined ways to cloak objects in the journal Science.
These research papers present the maths required to verify that the concept could work. But developing an invisibility cloak is likely to pose significant challenges.
Both groups propose methods using the unusual properties of so-called "metamaterials" to build a cloak.
These metamaterials can be designed to induce a desired change in the direction of electromagnetic waves, such as light. This is done by tinkering with the nano-scale structure of the metamaterial, not by altering its chemistry.

Of course, as all true fans of science fiction know, being truly invisible leaves one blind. We only see when the light rays carrying the information hit the retinal wall at the back of our eyes, where they are turned into electro-chemical information and then sorted out in the brain. If the retinal wall is invisible, that is, it does not react with light, no vision. The same could be said for the cornea. It's clear, but still visible.

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