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Harvard physicist puts fires out with electrified wand, hopes to share on HarvardConnection

Darren Murph
March 30, 2011
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Okay, so maybe Ludovico Cademartiri will be forced to share the good news on Facebook (or ConnectU, if he's into playing the role of rebel), but at least he's bound to see over a couple of hundred hits. According to The Harvard Crimson, the aforesaid physicist and a smattering of other researchers have stumbled upon a novel way to extinguish flames: electricity. The idea is eventually enable firefighters to squash fires without having to douse a home or object with water and foam -- if hit with a beam of juice, there's at least a sliver of a chance that something can be salvaged. While the specifics of the project are obviously far above our heads, the gist of it is fairly simple -- flames contain soot particles, which become "electrically charged during combustion." Given that those very particles react to electrical fields, a strong enough beam can twist things until it's extinguished completely. Quite honestly, it's a hands-on experience we're desperately trying to arrange, but till then, it looks like another round of Harry Potter will have to do.

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