In my short story THE LITERATURE CLUB PROJECT, Catherine Mason, the main character, sets fire to toy boats using a heat lamp and mirror. She designs her project based on what she has read about the Greek scientist, Archimedes, who destroyed enemy ships using reflective metals and the sun.
This weapon – sometimes called Archimedes’ death ray – has long been debated.
Some, like Mythbusters, say nope. It’s a myth. They’ve performed the experiment twice, and believe there would have been too many complications from the weather and local geography.
Others, like MIT 2.009 Engineers, say yep, Archimedes could have created and used such a weapon, as long as there was little or no cloud coverage.
Although Catherine’s experiment in THE LITERATURE CLUB PROJECT does take some, or maybe a lot of, literary license, her project is not complete fiction.
And, if you still wonder how much fact I had in the story, check out the video above from GreenPower Science, which shows them burning a pirate ship with their own version of the Archimedes death ray.