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September 26, 2003

Fun with fusion

I am going to assume this is a joke until Steven den Beste tells me otherwise.

The apparatus is nothing less than the sine qua non of modern science: a nuclear fusion reactor, based on the plans of Utah's own Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television. The reactor sat on a table with an attached vacuum pump wheezing away. A television monitor showed what was inside: a glowing ball of gas surrounded by a metal helix. The ball is, literally, a small sun, where an electric field forces deuteron ions (a form of hydrogen) to gather, bang together and occasionally fuse, spitting out a neutron each time fusion occurs.

"Here I am with this thing here," Wallace mused, looking at his surroundings. "Who'da thought?"

And then... I have cited John Logie Baird as one of the great figures of the 20th century. We may have to arrange an arm-wrestle with Philo Taylor Farnsworth.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 26, 2003 09:29 AM


It's not really fusion. The article makes that clear. It's plasma, with occasional solitary fusiony bits -- but not self-sustaining or a possible new energy source.

Still, a fun article.

Posted by: *** Dave at September 26, 2003 12:39 PM

Ahh... that makes sense then. Now I want to build my own.

Posted by: Nicholas Packwood at September 26, 2003 12:45 PM

If a kid could make real fusion in his house, then I'd have a whole lineup of those suckers in my basement just to get off "the grid". We were one town away from the blackout, that's too close for me!!!

Posted by: Fred Kiesche at September 26, 2003 02:42 PM