Two Words: Death Ray
Amid the gathering clouds of World War II, Tesla announced that he had conceived a new "peace beam" weapon capable of ending war forever. He saw his device, which we now know as a charged particle beam, as a kind of "Chinese wall," an anti-war device that would safeguard national borders. The papers took a different view: "TESLA, AT 78, BARES NEW 'DEATH BEAM'" blared The New York Times' front page on July 11, 1934.
CPBs were made famous by Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars, program, but the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was investigating them as early as 1958 [source: Roberds].