Fireproof plastic

A FORMER British hairdresser, Maurice Ward, who traded his shears in the early 1970s for an executive desk at a plastic-recycling firm that he set up, says he has invented a fireproof plastic called Starlite. Ward says the plastic can withstand temperatures as high as 10,0000 C and can be blasted with lasers without getting scorched. Ward demonstrated to an incredulous audience that a raw egg encased in Starlite and held against a welding torch remained uncooked.

Physicists have no clue as to how Starlite dissipates such intense heat so quickly. Ward says he has been flooded with offers from major international corporations, including NASA, because Starlite can fireproof oil-rigs and space shuttles. The plastic contains no unusual materials and, assures the amateur inventor, "If I told you how to make it, you could do it, too -- just like that."