Lab: The Lightning Research Lab at the University of Florida
Career: Lightning-tolerant spacecraft designer, power utilities engineer
A lucky few engineering students at the University of Florida get to do something vaguely magical: conjure their own lightning. To make bolts, students fire specially designed rockets, each of which trails metal wires connected to sensors, directly into thunderstorms. Students examine high-speed video of strikes to study lightning-bolt physics and test materials by directing bolts toward a target.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.