The purpose of science is to shine a light in the darkness, and lasers do it hard enough to set the darkness on fire.
Metaveld via Wikimedia Commons.
Enlightenment is awesome.
Lasers embody how technology allows everyone to benefit from the smart people. They've taken quantum mechanics, the single most mind-boggling science in existence, and put it to work in our supermarket checkouts. If you want to build supercomputers, set up a global communications network, trigger thermonuclear fusion, melt steel and weld flesh, lasers have you covered. They're like the Swiss Army Knife for people planning to attack the Justice League. Science has been kicking fiction's ass for several decades now, and lasers are how they pulled it off.
9Targeting Artificial Lightning
Lightning used to be so scary that people prayed to it, but when the modern world couldn't make up its mind whether to copy or steal it, we decided "Both!" Laser-triggered lightning (LTL), which we still can't believe isn't a D&D spell, is a technology that allows scientists to steer thunderbolts by laser-blasting the sky. Understand: When faced with towering thunderheads of heavenly power, the scientists' gut reaction is to pull a Han Solo and shoot first.
LucasArts, 20th Century Fox
This image is now required by law when using that phrase.
Scientists from Osaka University were triggering bolts with a crude CO2 laser system back in 1998, though it only worked well enough to be awesome, not practical. But laser science is the fastest-moving science in the last half century, and modern femtosecond pulse lasers have allowed them to control and direct lightning in the laboratory. Yes, the fact that scientists can make lightning in the laboratory is the incidental context in this death-metal apocalypse of a news story.
AIP Advances 2, 012151 (2012); doi: 10.1063/1.3690961
"You'll notice in c) that lasers can make even lightning straighten up and fly right. So, Senator, let's talk about funding."
French scientists have found a way to laser-designate Zeus's wrath. Lightning strikes occur when the potential difference between sky and Earth builds up enough to ionize the air, and ionizing air is what lasers do. So by lasering the air, the scientists create a path of least resistance for the lightning -- a priority lane for Thor. In tests, the system was able to steer lightning strikes away from otherwise guaranteed victims of Skyblasting and even redirect bolts that had already started to form. These laser lightning rods produce positive charge streamers -- the pre-lightning paths that both sound and destroy like Ghostbuster proton packs, 10 times faster than nature.
This system is intended to protect buildings more effectively than metal lightning rods. The ability to weaponize the gods the next time the sky darkens is presumably an incidental bonus.
8Human Laser Systems
Science fiction gives scientists a bad rap. Never mind how Marvel scientist can't go a week without exposing teenagers to mutagenic radiation; the real insult is that a clumsy victim of radiation exposure takes 30 seconds to discover some amazing side effect the scientists didn't. If there were real scientists in comics universes, their latest findings would be delivered by people twice as fast as the flash while their windows were washed by Spider-man. But in the real world, we only have living human laser components.
20th Century Fox, Marvel
Now you know where Cyclops comes from, and why he's always pissing people off.
Professors Yun and Gather reported these results from Harvard Medical School, presumably in order to maintain the secret location of their subvolcanic secret base. The cells used are known as "immortal cell lines" because they don't die like most cells removed from humans. Because if there's anything we want to gift with laser power, it's something that is immortal, has only ever experienced human waste and was once a man.