To us, Prague will always be the Eastern European capital of roast duck, potato dumplings and tasty, cheap pilsner. But come 2015, the former Soviet Bloc city will also become home to the world's most powerful laser, as part of the European Union's Extreme Light Infrastructure project. According to plans released by the European Commission, the laser will produce peak power in the exawatt range (equivalent to one trillion megawatts). So, for a very small fraction of a second, the beam will generate one million times more power than the entire U.S. electric grid. Believe it or not, that's plenty of time to conduct experiments that could reveal new cancer treatments and ways to deal with nuclear waste. Breakthroughs in either category would be incredible for the €700 million (about $1 billion) project, which also includes future plans to build two similar lasers, and a third that's twice as powerful the Prague installation -- roughly the same current draw as an HTC Thunderbolt.

[Image courtesy of Instructables]