There is a tradition dating back to cold war times of what may be called superweapons. These are weapons which usually have some mythological quality about them, either due to their extreme power, their use of secret futuristic technology or supernatural origins.
In this thread I would like to focus on the superweapons which are more scientifically oriented, rather than the supernatural ones. How likely is it that they exist? Are they even scientifically possible?
An important figure when it comes to discussing these weapons is Nikola Tesla(ÐÐ¸ÐºÐ¾Ð»Ð° Ð¢ÐµÑÐ»Ð°). The father of Alternating Current, he has a mythos surrounding him of the mysterious/mad scientist and more importantly he has recently become a symbol for suppressed knowledge. It is the opinion of certain groups that information on the electromagnetic force has been kept from general knowledge and that Tesla had access to this.
This leads on to the final aspect this thread should discuss. That there are scientific discoveries with important military or practical implications which have been withheld from the public.
So basically: Are there superweapons? Are they plausible in the first place? Is there secret scientific knowledge? What is the truth in Tesla conspiracies?
I'm sure there are. The question really ought to be are these superweapons actually practical?
Are they plausible in the first place?
They are very plausible in the first place.
Is there secret scientific knowledge?
I'm sure the military has secret technologies up their sleeves. That said, don't hold your breath for photon torpedos and warp drives anytime soon.
What is the truth in Tesla conspiracies?
While competing with Edison, Tesla had this idea that he could transmit "free" energy through the air to people. Some conspiracy theorists have even "theorized" that it was Tesla's experiment that caused the multi-megaton explosion in Tunguska in Siberia.
Any government can make a supercharged weapon. But to make it practical, not massively expensive, mobile and actually usable is something entirely different.
Even the Navy's rail gun is downright questionable given the necessary power requirements as well as the problems of using it more then once during combat as the rails that make up the barrel are toasted after the first round. We know it works. But is it practical?
I'm sure the military has secret technologies up their sleeves.
There is a HUGE difference between secret scientific knowledge and secret technology. Most of the conspiracy theories revolve around the former (which 'obviously' leads to the latter) and is pure bullshit, and never actually promoted by anyone who has a clue about the relevant science (e/m, gravity, 'electrograv')
Or at least, that's what I've been paid to say ;)
CD (one-time passionate advocate of the Philedelphia Experiment :o )
Along the same lines: what is the chance that military intelligence might have secret super-efficient algorithms to break cryptography based on prime factorization? Would be a massive "weapon" indeed. Not as spectacular as a Dead Ray, but maybe even more dangerous :)
I should be clearer about what exactly makes something a superweapon. A quick example would be, a rail gun is not a superweapon and Philadelphia experiment technology is. Basically a superweapon is something which if it did exist would indicate governments have technology way, way in advance of what the public know about it.
An example of something which marks the boundary between superweapon and regular weapon would be the ion cannons or any space based "beam-weapon". This is conceivably within our scientific framework, but would be a huge financial drain to construct.
I also should have been clearer about something else. As cavediver said, secret scientific knowledge is quite different to secret technology. And example of secret scientific knowledge would be claims that the government/other groups hid part of Maxwell's equations from the public. What we learn in textbooks is only three-quarters of what Maxwell really found.
"Philedelphia"? You must be one of those Englenders.
I knew something was wrong as I wrote it, but wasn't totally sure :)
The movie was great and I was fully into the 'science' at that time as a young teenager. A friend and I had already traced the full history of the DE-166 USS Eldridge through every copy of Janes we could order at the library. I probably read Berlitz when I was 11 or 12, and shortly after discovered my father had a copy of Thin Air (the fictional novelisation of the PE.)
I must have started to lose faith through sixth form, being fed a much healthier diet of Feynman, Weinberg and Einstein. By the time I started uni I was sure it was purely mythical.
I'd disagree with that segmentation. A super weapon is merely a weapon that is vastly superior to one's opponent's arsenal. The machine gun for example allowed a small British platoon to kill thousands of African warriors without losing a man. That's a super weapon. A weapon that so vastly superior that it allows numerical inferiority to have virtually assured victory. A rail gun today would be a super weapon as a single ship with a rail gun could devastate an enemy fleet.
Huh? SG has defined what HE means by superweapon in HIS thread, and he has also clarified that meaning. Not really much for you to disagree with there... if I get around to a thread on supersymmetry, are you going to tell me how a butterfly expresses some really super symmetry?
would you consider a nuclear weapon a "super weapon"?
No. It was built using the latest nuclear science of the day, but it was not 'hidden' science in any way. However, the technology and engineering involved was hidden. A modern day equivalent would be the F-117 and the B2.
Superweapons, as SG defines them, are supposed technologies based upon supposed science that has been developed and kept secret by the military; weapons based upon Tesla's electrograv, Einstein's Unfied Field Theory, Brown's Lifetr technology, and of course, science gleaned from the contents of Hnager 18...