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Help Mythbusters recreate Archimedes’ death ray

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Help Mythbusters recreate Archimedes’ death ray

Archimedes Death Ray

MythBusters needs volunteers to attempt another recreation of Archimedes’ legendary solar death ray. David writes –

Because it’s been so popular with our viewers, this will be our third attempt at a story called Archimedes Death Ray. The myth is that the [Greek] army defended themselves from invading [Roman] ships by lining the shores with 300 soldiers. But these soldiers did not use conventional warfare. By using their mirrored shields to focus the sun’s rays at the invading ships they could, the myth alleges, set the invading ships on fire and save the city.

300- 350 Volunteers to operate mirrors for the one day of experiment (engineering and science backgrounds preferred)


  • We would require volunteers to be 18 years or older and to Pre-register with us prior to the experiment date by email.
  • All volunteers would be required to sign a Participant Release/Liability waiver.
  • Experiment will take place in September (date still to be determined).
  • Volunteers will need to be available from 9am to 7pm and would have to bring their own lunch and transport themselves to the location (similar to going to an outdoor concert). Possible locations include the Greek Theater, Oyster Point Marina or Alameda NAS.
  • We’ll supply volunteers with a MythBusters T-shirt, a signed autograph card and possibly a group photo with Jamie and Adam.

Send and email to:
Please provide Full Name, Age and Contact Information
Please write [*MythBusters – Death Ray*] in the subject header.
MythBusters will then follow up and contact them with more details very

38 thoughts on “Help Mythbusters recreate Archimedes’ death ray

  1. Odin says:

    Can you give us a clue about where it would be? If its within 100 miles of my location, I would volunteer.

  2. scote says:

    “Can you give us a clue about where it would be? If its within 100 miles of my location, I would volunteer.”

    They did:

    “Greek Theater, Oyster Point Marina or Alameda NAS.”

    Berkeley, South San Francisco or Alameda

  3. anon says:

    Minor nitpick (which I think you just quoted, so it’s not even your fault) but Archimedes was a GREEK and helped repel ROMAN soldiers, not the other way around.

  4. MCW says:

    God, I would LOVE to be on Mythbusters, or even help bust a myth. If I lived in California, I’d be there without a doubt :(

    I always loved that Death Ray myth. I’m sure they will get it right with this 3rd attempt. If not, they could always set Buster aflame and toss him on the ship!

  5. TTJ says:

    There is a few problems with the presumed setup of the experiment.

    1. The sun is strongest in the northern hemisphere at the end of july.

    2. Sicily is further south than the south of California. This means that the
    sun in California is less strong than it is in Sicily.

    3. It was the Greeks at Syracuse that defended against the invading Romans.

    Looks like they have screwed up again.

  6. yh says:

    hmm… those are some very bad locations if they want some strong sunlight. The Greek is up on a hill surrounded by a bunch of trees, Oyster point is… well… in SF and once you get to south SF thing are normally pretty damn foggy. Alameda might be the best location, as its shielded from the fog, but its still not as good as say if they were in gilroy or stockton or something. Then again… both those places aren’t near a large body of water…

    I think I’m gonna sign up and HOPE that I’m back in CA by the time they do this…

  7. Elepski says:

    I live in Florida!… arrrgghhh

  8. Collin Cunningham says:

    [Greek/Roman mixup corrected] – thnx!

  9. Fred says:

    Not the first to point this out, but it needs to be said. Again.

  10. Phaedrus says:

    I’ve glad they’re finally doing this right. I’m pretty sure they’ll find that 300 sets of eyes and hands will work much better than a handful of people and a big wooden frame. It’d be sweet if they actually fabbed a load of shiny bronze shields and let the volunteers keep them, but if wishes were horses…
    I wonder if the alleged shields had a slightly concave surface to them…

  11. sam says:

    didn’t they already do this?

  12. Viadd says:

    Making the mirror concave doesn’t help much. (Due to the finite extent of the Sun, and the fact that you would have to set the curve for a particular distance.)

    What will help is a making part of the back of the mirror reflective, and putting a small hole in it. This lets you aim it like you would with a signaling mirror.

    Getting all the mirrors properly pointed is the hard part.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Send and email to:

    Ok so anyone notice this is s Australian email address?

  14. Sarah says:

    Beyond International is an Australian company that does television program production amongst other things. They are the people behind Toward 2000/Beyond 2000/Toward Tomorrow a popular Australian tv series that has been around since the early 80’s (with a few name changes) which talks about science and technology, and new innovations.

    From Beyond’s website: “Since its inception in 1984 Beyond has produced and/or co-produced over 1,800 hours of programming – including information and documentary programs, magazine and lifestyle series as well as drama, children’s, light-entertainment, variety, comedy and mini-series.”

    I’m signed up to volunteer for this myth!

  15. Bazza says:

    >> Ok so anyone notice this is s Australian email address?

    lol, Americans are funny guys. (guy probably owns an ’06 GTO too) You know, despite what World Book Encyclopaedia tells you, not everything is American in origin.

  16. gunterhausfrau says:

    They (any anyone interested) should check out…

    They use a solar array for high temp experiments.
    From the web page
    “..the Megawatt Solar Furnace (MWSF), the more powerful solar furnace in the world: power up to 1 MW, peak heat flux around 10000 kW/m? at focus, peak temperature above 3000 K.”

    more than enough for your average greek/roman.

  17. Anonymous says:

    So… is this filled or not yet?

  18. nio says:

    Its funny, cuz they don’t have enough facts on this how they created these “death rays”…

    Hihi, If they try to recreate the egypt piramids, and because they don’t know the technology of building them, its going to be fun, because their statement will be taht the pyramids are impossible to biuld hahaha

  19. MBT Shoes says:

    Undeniably he’s an important person that contributes a huge part in the film industry.

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