Science: Sudden Zeus

In a quiet, warehouselike building at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, N. Mex. are six racks of shelves, each 28 ft. long, 3 ft. wide and 20 ft. high. Each rack has seven shelves; on each shelf are 48 grey metal boxes; and the whole thing looks as passive as a shoe factory's inventory. Actually, it is the first half of the Zeus capacitor, one of the world's most violent bits of equipment.

Zeus's job is to store electricity gradually, as in a huge storage tank, and then spit it out as a short but enormously powerful jolt of energy. And Zeus is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!