Science: Death Rays Deferred

Death rays missed the bus for World War II. But the U.S. Government took them seriously enough to engage a first-rate engineer, Dr. Albert F. Murray, to examine all suggestions. Recently Dr. Murray told of his experiences with the death projectors.

First he decided that a useful death ray would have to 1) burn a half-inch hole in a four-inch plank in five seconds; 2) burn a six-inch live tree two miles away in three minutes; 3) kill small animals at 5,000 feet in three seconds. Reason: anything milder would not be valuable militarily.

He examined lots of death rays, which inventors claimed...

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!