The Marketplace Reader

Scientists: Turning invisible might be possible

Richard Core Aug 11, 2008

I had wonder if someone wasn’t playing an April Fool’s joke in August, but this story appears to be legit.

Scientists say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people and objects invisible. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time they were able to cloak three-dimensional objects using artificially engineered materials that redirect light around the objects.

That’s from an AP report posted on Wired.com.

The findings, by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Xiang Zhang, are to be released later this week in the journals Nature and Science. . . . People can see objects because they scatter the light that strikes them, reflecting some of it back to the eye. Cloaking uses materials, known as metamaterials, to deflect radar, light or other waves around an object, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream.

Of course, being invisible would have some significant military implications. No wonder the research is funded, in part, by the U.S. Army Research Office.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.