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"We follow the scientists around and look over their shoulders."
- Larry Niven

Lanson Screen  
  An elliptical shield of force large enough to enclose a city.  

"...Against my Screen your biggest shells were as puffballs. Yes? Your most gigantic bombs as thistledown. You thought me utterly insane when I insisted on remaining within.” The scientist grinned, humorlessly. “What do you think now?”

Thompson shook his grizzled head, as if, to rid it of a nightmare. “You took an awful chance. Suppose it had cracked.”

“Cracked ! In the name of Planck cannot you understand that the Lanson Screen is not matter that can crack?” The other spread veined, pudgy hands. "It is the negation of all energy, a dimensionless shell through which energy cannot penetrate. And since matter is a form of energy — ” The physicist checked himself, shrugged. “But what’s the use? I cannot expect you to understand. Besides myself there are perhaps a dozen in the world who could comprehend, and none is an American. Enough for you to know that I had to be inside to operate the B machine that cut the negative force the A apparatus set up. From outside it could not be done. The Screen would have remained forever and you would not be convinced there had been, no effect of your bombardment within it...”

“Don’t you understand yet that once the Lanson Screen is erected all within is as absolutely cut off from the rest of the universe as if it were a different space, a different dimension? Nothing can penetrate within — electricity, wireless, the cosmic rays, the sun’s radiations. Nothing!"


(Lanson Screen from 'The Lanson Screen' by Leo Zagat)

“...I’ll shield New York for you with the same machine I used here, with the same power — storage batteries not larger than those in your car. Their energy is needed for only an instant, to start the complex functioning of forces whose result you have just witnessed. I’ll erect a screen for you about Manhattan Island, an ellipsoid as high and as deep as the least axis of the enclosing rivers. Will that satisfy you?”

From The Lanson Screen, by Leo Zagat.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1936
Additional resources -

Compare to the Langston Field from The Mote in God's Eye (1974) by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).

Compare to the shield from Skylark Three (1930) by EE 'Doc' Smith, the personal force shield from Foundation (1951) by Isaac Asimov and the deflector shield from Star Wars (1976) by George Lucas.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Lanson Screen
  More Ideas and Technology by Leo Zagat
  Tech news articles related to The Lanson Screen
  Tech news articles related to works by Leo Zagat

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