Scientists create a laser lightning rod and test it on a mountaintop in Switzerland


According to the study, “Lightning has fascinated and terrified humankind since time immemorial. Based on satellite data, the total lightning flash rate worldwide—including cloud-to-ground and cloud lightning—is estimated to be between 40 and 120 flashes per second.”

Ben Franklin’s invention

The most widely used protection against direct lightning strikes is the lightning rod. It was invented by a founding father of the USA, Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century. 

Also known as the Franklin rod it consists of a pointed conducting mast connected to the ground or grounded. “It protects buildings and their immediate surroundings by providing a preferential strike point for the lightning and guiding its electric current safely to the ground.”

It works by intercepting lightning and diffusing the strikes safely to the ground.

But the protection zone remains relative to their height. So, a lightning rod that is 10 meters (32.8 feet) tall protects an area generally with a 10-meter radius.

Using this method to protect areas with broad ranges such as power stations, airports, launchpads, wind farms, and even nuclear power plants can be problematic.