Oct 12, 2023

For The First Time Ever, Humans Have Bent Lightning

Posted by in category: climatology

For the first time, scientists have managed to deflect lightning, to the relief of anyone afraid of thunder and lightning storms but probably the chagrin of Zeus. They managed to show that lasers can act as virtual lightning rods, redirecting the direction in which bolts jump.

The Franklin lightning rod was a major scientific advance of its day, preventing millions of fires and electrocutions and demonstrating humanity’s capacity to control forces we had long feared as belonging to the gods. Nevertheless, it’s been 270 years, and it remains the basis of our lightning protection: maybe it’s time for an upgrade.

That is what Dr Aurélien Houard of ENSTA Paris and co-authors propose in a paper pubpished in Nature Photonics, demonstrating that laser pulses can change the direction of a lightning strike.

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