Goldfinger's Moon Laser

The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

By BBC Radio 4

Goldfinger's Moon Laser

"The other day I was watching the James Bond film Goldfinger. He boasts a laser powerful enough to project a spot on the Moon. Is this possible? If so, just how powerful would such a laser need to be?" This curious question was sent to curiouscases@bbc.co.uk by Eddie Griffith from Hinckley in Leicestershire. Adam visits one of the most powerful lasers in the world, the Gemini Super Intense Laser at the aptly named Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, Oxfordshire. Plasma physicist Ceri Brenner gives him a quick zap, whilst explaining what would happen if they attempted to shoot their quadrillion watt laser at the Moon. Hannah talks to Tom Murphy from the University of California San Diego, who fires lasers at the Moon for a living. However, unlike Goldfinger, he's not using his Moon Laser for crime, he's using it for science. Presenters: Hannah Fry, Adam Rutherford Producer: Michelle Martin.
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