Obama To Appear On Mythbusters: To Test Archimedes Solar Ray
President Obama Discovery Channel Mythbuster With Adam Savage And Jamie Hyneman On Discovery Channel, Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | Challenge: Testing Archimedes Solar Ray
Cue the Obama Myth Jokes - that's right President Obama is appearing on the popular Discovery Channel Science (well Science in the TV sense not the scientific sense) show, Mythbusters with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman.
Real physics are employed Wednesday, for Obama's "viewer's challenge," to further test the feasibility of Archimedes' legendary solar ray, in which the reflected power of the sun was supposedly used to set Roman ships ablaze during the Siege of Syracuse — a weapon the Mythbusters had attempted twice to re-create without success.
"Well, that is a classic," Hyneman says.
Though the hosts of Mythbusters failed to re-create the Archimedes Solar Ray a Greek scientist in 1973 apparently was successful.
A test of the Archimedes heat ray was carried out in 1973 by the Greek scientist Ioannis Sakkas. The experiment took place at the Skaramagas naval base outside Athens. On this occasion 70 mirrors were used, each with a copper coating and a size of around five by three feet (1.5 by 1 m). The mirrors were pointed at a plywood mock-up of a Roman warship at a distance of around 160 feet (50 m). When the mirrors were focused accurately, the ship burst into flames within a few seconds. The plywood ship had a coating of tar paint, which may have aided combustion.