Tag Archives: lasers

Group 2 Abstract

Our project will look at the concept of lasers as a weapon. We will first test the feasibility of laser weapons by figuring out how powerful of a laser would be required (if it is even possible) and then determining the other limiting factors (size, energy consumption, etc.) to see if it would be possible to build a laser powerful enough to weaponize. We will also look at the portrayal of laser weapons in popular culture (like Star Wars) and analyze the accuracy/inaccuracy of their portrayal.

Group 11 Project Plan


Carolyn will research the HAARP facility’s research on the creation of atmospheric auroras. She will write a summary of the physics of HAARP’s experiments with radio waves on the ionosphere, and will create a 3D animation of the creation of an aurora to illustrate the physics of the process. Kenny will research the electromagnetic waves that HAARP produces and their effect on the weather and geophysical events. Specifically, he will explore the conspiracy theorists’ claims that HAARP has been used to generate recent earthquakes. He will also look at how HAARP is portrayed in the media and whether the portrayal is accurate.

Tech Involved

Carolyn will use Autodesk Maya to create the 3D animation. Kenny will research the properties of electromagnetic waves, resonance frequency, and the science of earthquakes

The HAARP facility uses 360 radio transmitters and 180 antennas to produce radio waves that are absorbed between 100 and 350 km altitude.

Activity Plan

We will meet every Friday at 12:30 to consolidate our research and writings. We will communicate by email during the week and use Google Docs to compile our writing in the cloud. We will use research from credible sources, such as scientific journals and textbooks, and Kenny will examine the conspiracies surrounding HAARP that are on the internet and in the media.


Carolyn’s research and animation should clearly demonstrate how HAARP’s precisely-controlled radio waves can produce visible auroras in the ionosphere. Kenny predicts that the power of the ELF waves that HAARP produce have been greatly exaggerated by conspiracy theorists and that HAARP has not been used to generate earthquakes.

Project Plan


Jordan will research the issues relating to black holes that arise in “The Impossible Planet.” Tory will look into the concept of parallel worlds and the idea of jumping between them. We will work together on the validity of laser weapons as legitimate technology.

Science/ Technology Involved:

–       “The Impossible Planet”

  • General information on black holes
  • General relativity and distorted space-time
  • Event horizon
  • Scientific validity of the “impossible planet” described

–       Parallel worlds

  • Quantum theory
    • Many worlds interpretation
  • Any scientific basis for jumping between realities

–       Laser weapons

  • Power of lasers (using color as a jumping-off point)
  • Scientific validity of their use in the show

Activity plan:

We plan to work individually on a daily basis and meet every other day. Our project is research-based, so we will gather sources from the library and from Scopus. Books we have already consulted include Black Holes and Warped Spacetime (Kaufmann), An Introduction to Relativistic Gravitation (Hakim), Science and Ultimate Reality (Barrow, Davies, and Harper), and Science and Technology of Directed-Energy Weapons (American Physical Society).

Expected Outcome:

At this point in our research, we are unable to accurately predict the results of our venture. We hypothesize that the concepts we are studying have some basis in real science, but have been greatly exaggerated for television. However, we will be pleasantly surprised (until the Daleks show up, obviously) if our hypothesis turns out to be incorrect.

A Look Into the Structure and Creation of Holograms

A Famous Hologram

From our ID’s and credit cards to old software packaging, holograms are seen everywhere in our day to day lives. Though these little three dimensional images are everywhere, the average American does not understand how they are made. Our group will investigate the structural design of holograms and how implemented with lasers can create three dimensional images. We will use the holography kit to build our own holograms and through their construction get a better understanding of how they work.

Laser Guide Stars

The Inner Workings of a Laser Guide Star


In this creative project, we will investigate the topic of laser guide stars. Laser guide stars are lasers which provide an adequately bright reference in the sky which adaptive optics systems, such as the Keck Observatory, can use to change its mirror shape in order to correct for atmospheric disturbances of light.

LGS in use at the MMT Obsersvatory


We will explore this relationship in the form of a love ballad or poem. The mirror must change itself in response to the laser in order to achieve its maximum potential and a clear perspective on its goals, much like a person can reach new heights through the power of love.

Perplexities of Doctor Who

For our project, we plan to explore some of the concepts that arise in Doctor Who.  One concept that we will discuss is the planet orbiting a black hole in the episode “The Impossible Planet”.  We would like to discuss what forces would enable this orbiting to occur.

We will also investigate the quantum mechanical concepts involved in the series’ alternate realities, including a discussion of the possibility of jumping between these realities.

Moreover, we will analyze the feasibility of laser and electrical weapons as they are portrayed on the show multiple times, especially in the Dalek race.

We will present this project as a paper/extended blog post with embedded video clips demonstrating the concepts in question.