How are lasers, an ancient plot by mathematician and inventor Archimedes, and a new hotel in Las Vegas connected? The ancient death ray of Archimedes was once considered too fanciful to have ever existed, but the construction of a hotel in Las Vegas has actually more or less proven that with the materials available, Archimedes likely utilized lasers to burn up an invading Roman fleet.
The claim is incredible, so it will require incredible evidence to back it up. According to myth, somewhere around 215 and 212 BC the ancient mathematician, world renowned inventor, and all around brilliant thinker Archimedes was called to arms by the Greeks to help them fight off an invading fleet of triremes as they approached his home city of Syracuse. Rather than using his brawn, he used his mental mettle to create a device that would burst roman vessels into flame and send them to the bottom of the sea. While it was not named at the time, it was essentially a death ray, capable of focusing light into a beam known better today as a laser. What does this have to do with a hotel in Las Vegas?
Without knowing it, the MGM Resorts hotel recently opened in Las Vegas used a fairly similar principle to that used by Archimedes and his army of laser beam wielding super soldiers. Unfortunately, the hotel was using it entirely by accident. And it has an architectural principle much similar to an improvised SAS tactic for starting fires using a laser beam powered by the suns rays using only a can and a small piece of chocolate.
By rubbing a thin layer of chocolate (or other similar substitute such as wax, shoe polish, varnish, or in some cases even water) on the surface of a convex lens, such as the bottom of a soft drink can, a carefully calculated angle causes the lens to focus the rays in a way very similar to a magnifying glass. Survival experts have long used this improvised technique to start a fire using only the light of the sun.
The MGM Resorts hotel, as a result of this same phenomenon has been giving people serious burns, heating swimming pools to unbearable levels, and even melting plastic left outside too long. The massive building is essentially a massive death ray beaming down on the city, albeit not as focused as Archimedes’ would have been.
But Archimedes’ death ray likely had more than simple cans and chocolate. According to a long disputed claim by ancient historians Plutarch and Anthemius of Tralles, the solar reflectors were held on a boat by several of Archimedes’ followers. He commanded them to focus the reflection of all of their beams on a single point and hold them steady on the ships. While it may have taken some time, the heat magnified from the roman ships would have set them alight with surprising quickness. And the color of the ships would have been a major part of this as well. Ideal targets would have been the dark regions of the emblems on the sails, the hulls, containers of oil, and the crews themselves.
So almost 2000 years later, a Las Vegas Hotel has unwittingly proven the claims of a historian who has been dead for 2,000 years, and shown that one man’s intelligence was something that even the Roman Empire could not hold a candle to.