On the border of Oxfordshire and Berkshire lie two of the world's most powerful lasers. They can heat matter to millions of degrees in less than a trillionth of a second, rip apart the atom and generate the 4th state of matter, plasma. But why go to all this effort? First of all, they are great at generating the extreme conditions of the Universe, like supernova explosions and planetary cores, so that we can study them up close in the laboratory. But these machines are not just a physicist's playground. Super powerful lasers were developed for the hugely inspiring quest of fusion energy as a sustainable, clean heat source for power stations. They are also driving innovation in medical imaging, security inspection and nuclear waste management. Not bad for a fancy form of light!