Science: Spark

In a pitch dark laboratory at Leland Stanford University, a band of scientists listened expectantly to a whining roar close by them. At two points in the blackness, 20 feet apart, flickers of light appeared, dancing white, blue, violet, spreading and leaping towards each other as the roar increased. Thousands of flaming lances stabbed the night horizontally, creating the halo of glowing purple known to electrical engineers as the "corona," a sign of wasting power. The crackle of sparks intensified, culminating in a fierce explosion, as a broad, jagged ribbon of blue-edged white...

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