Archimedes' Weapon: Focussing Mirror Melts Car in London

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In summary, the new construction in London caused a problem with mirrors reflecting the sun's light and setting things on fire.
  • #1

epenguin

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Well it's physics and current so I guess this is the place for it.

London especially the City area is changing fast by new construction; you would notice if you hadn't been for a few years, even one or two.

In a new construction apparently the architects didn't think of the focussing mirror effect of a curved building. It set things on fire, melted a guy's car, and the BBC News film showed people frying eggs in the focus, temperatures of 50 deg. were measured (don't ask me).

It's like the legend of Archimedes, I think it is considered a legend but was it based on something?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23957986
 
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  • #3
I've know the building they're talking about and at first I wondered why no one considered it would be a problem but then I wondered if anyone in England has ever worried about the sun being a problem...ever...
 
  • #4
Sun in England? Nah, we have a historical evidence that it was locating it that was always the problem. After all, probably that's why Stonehenge was built - so that ancient Brits would know where to look for the Sun.
 
  • #5
epenguin said:
It's like the legend of Archimedes, I think it is considered a legend but was it based on something?

http://www.unmuseum.org/burning_mirror.htm

It goes something like this: the earliest accounts of Archimedes defense of Syracuse contain reports of many amazing devices, but not the burning mirror. The burning mirror doesn't show up till an account written in the 12th century. That one is supposed to be based on an earlier one which is now lost.

Anyway, we now know that if the Romans had tried to invade driving Jaguars, he could have melted them.
 
  • #6
Something I posted in random thoughts:

You don't want to piss Archie off...

:devil:
attachment.php?attachmentid=61436&d=1378265553.jpg

attachment.php?attachmentid=61437&d=1378265553.jpg
 
  • #7
The trouble is, you have it wrong, Enigman. "Don't disturb my circles," is the last thing he said before a Roman soldier killed him.
 
  • #8
Just Idle fantasy, mon ami!

I know but he defended his circles for two whole years- slaughtering a significant portion of the roman navy with his war machines. Not a guy you want to piss off! Two years in front of the Romans and Carthage for a puny empire like Syracuse during a Punic war (pun intended)-well, can't be done without ol' Archie. HE ROCKS! The pic. was just Idle fantasy, mon ami!
p.s. Archie also launched a whole friggin' ship singlehandedly!
 
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  • #9
Enigman said:
I know but he defended his circles for two whole years- slaughtering a significant portion of the roman navy with his war machines. Not a guy you want to piss off!
In the end the Romans won and Archimedes got killed.

If you want to celebrate a guy you shouldn't piss off, you should shift your focus to Newton. For example, when his nemesis Hooke died and Newton took over the Royal Society he "disappeared" the one and only portrait there was of Hooke. Because of that, no one really knows what Hooke looked like today. Then, later, when a well known counterfeiter showed up at the mint and started offering advise, Newton had him arrested, hanged, drawn and quartered. There's more. Newton died undefeated.
 
  • #10
Newton didn't launch a ship single handedly but Archie did. Newton can't compare to Archie's warmachines. [though its a good idea for my next pic...soon after I porcupine fish slap your avatar...Don't mind me I am high on caffeine and sugar.]
 
  • #11
Ryan_m_b said:
I've know the building they're talking about and at first I wondered why no one considered it would be a problem but then I wondered if anyone in England has ever worried about the sun being a problem...ever...

I heard they did consider this ("obviously" apparently), ran a load of simulations and decided there would be no problem. I think they said that the problem was due to "warping" or something after construction, that the simulations did not take into account.
 
  • #12
Borek said:
Sun in England? Nah, we have a historical evidence that it was locating it that was always the problem. After all, probably that's why Stonehenge was built - so that ancient Brits would know where to look for the Sun.

It's out in full force today :cool:
 

1. What was Archimedes' weapon and how did it work?

Archimedes' weapon was a large concave mirror, also known as a "burning mirror" or "death ray," which was used to focus sunlight onto a specific point. The mirror was made of polished bronze or copper and had a parabolic shape, allowing it to reflect and concentrate the sunlight into a small area. This intense heat was capable of melting or setting fire to objects, such as ships or buildings.

2. Why was the weapon used in London?

The weapon was not actually used in London. The story of Archimedes using his weapon to set fire to Roman ships during the Siege of Syracuse in 212 BC is a legend and has never been proven to be true. The story was first recorded by the Roman historian, Cassius Dio, over 200 years after the siege took place.

3. Was the weapon ever successfully recreated?

There have been numerous attempts to recreate Archimedes' weapon, but none have been proven to be successful. In 1973, a Greek scientist named Ioannis Sakkas claimed to have successfully set fire to a boat using a similar weapon, but this has not been replicated or scientifically proven.

4. Could the weapon really melt a car in London?

No, it is highly unlikely that Archimedes' weapon could have melted a car in London. Even if the weapon did exist and was used during the Siege of Syracuse, it would not have had enough power to reach and melt a car in modern-day London. The story is most likely a myth or exaggeration.

5. What is the modern-day application of Archimedes' weapon?

The concept of using mirrors to concentrate sunlight for energy is still being researched and developed today. This technology, known as solar thermal energy, is used to heat water and create steam, which can then be used to generate electricity. However, the technology is much more advanced and efficient than Archimedes' weapon and does not involve melting objects.

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