Archimedes heat ray

Arhchimedes heat ray: Did an array of mirrors set ships aflame 2200 years ago?
Arhchimedes heat ray: Did an array of mirrors set ships aflame 2200 years ago?Courtesy Finnrind

Solar powered heat ray

Did Archimedes use a heat ray to set enemy ships on fire over 2000 years ago? A text written about the Siege of Syracuse (212BC) some 400 years later merely said he lit the ships on fire. He could have used flaming arrows or perhaps hurled larger balls of flame via catapult.
Centuries later,

Anthemius of Tralles mentions burning-glasses as Archimedes' weapon.
This purported weapon has been the subject of ongoing debate about its credibility since the Renaissance

Myth Busted?

In 1973, an experiment using 70 mirrors, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet, caused a mock-up ship 160 feet away to burst into flames within seconds.
A group of MIT students used a parabolic array of 127 "polished metal mirrors" 1 sq ft in size for a 2005 MythBusters episode and were barely able to set part of the "ship" aflame.

My favorite Arhimedes heat ray experiment

I recently came across this video of a recreation of the Archimedes heat ray experiment.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

The Mythbusters say no.

posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 11:11pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options