Tractor Beams? They're Working On It

Although most people today associate the term tractor beam with Star Trek, the term originated in Space Hounds of IPC (1931), by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.

...Brandon swung mighty tractor beams upon the severed halves of the Jovian vessel, then extended a couple of smaller rays to meet the two little figures racing across the smooth green meadow...
(Read more about Smith's tractor beam)

Science fiction writer Edmond Hamilton had the basic idea first - he called it an "attractive ray" in his 1928 book Crashing Suns.


(Tractor beam research at NYU)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series premiere, NYU physics professor (and sci-fi fan) David Grier leads a tour of his lab—the birthplace of the real-life tractor beam. In this video, Grier explains how the technology works and how it could find practical use in everything from environmental science to—yes—space exploration.

Via NYU.

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