Handheld magnetrons for making crop circles?

Crpcircltitltshift

Greenpeace's GM Crop Circle from Circlemakers.org

Are planks and rope now obsolete crop circle technology? Physicist Richard Taylor, director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon, posits that GPS, lasers, and handheld magnetrons may be the new tricks of the trade. He reports on his research in this month's issue of the journal Physics World. From the Institute of Physics:

Microwaves, Taylor suggests, could be used to make crop stalks fall over and cool in a horizontal position – a technique that could explain the speed and efficiency of the artists and the incredible detail that some crop circles exhibit.

Indeed, one research team claims to be able to reproduce the intricate damage inflicted on crops using a handheld magnetron, readily available from microwave ovens, and a 12 V battery.

As Taylor writes, “Crop-circle artists are not going to give up their secrets easily. This summer, unknown artists will venture into the countryside close to your homes and carry out their craft, safe in the knowledge that they are continuing the legacy of the most science-oriented art movement in history.”

"Physics could be behind the secrets of crop-circle artists" (Thanks, Jacques Vallee!)