Dr. Robert Bussard recently visited the Googleplex to discuss his latest developments in controlled nuclear fusion:
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Description: Google Tech Talks November 9, 2006 ABSTRACT This is not your
father’s fusion reactor! Forget everything you know about conventional thinking
on nuclear fusion: high-temperature plasmas, steam turbines, neutron radiation
and even nuclear waste are a thing of the past. Goodbye thermonuclear fusion;
hello inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IEC), an old idea that’s been
made new. While the international community debates the fate of the
politically-turmoiled $12 billion ITER (an experimental thermonuclear reactor),
simple IEC reactors are being built as high-school science fair projects. Dr.
Robert Bussard, former Asst. Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and
founder of Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), has spent 17 years
perfecting IEC, a fusion process that converts hydrogen and boron directly into
electricity producing helium as the only waste product. Most of this work was
funded by the Department of Defense, the details of which have been under
seal… until now. Dr. Bussard will discuss his recent results and details of
this potentially world-altering technology, whose conception dates back as far
as 1924, and even includes a reactor design by Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of
the scanning television). Can a 100 MW fusion reactor be built for less than
Google’s annual electricity bill? Come see what’s possible when you think
outside the thermonuclear box and ignore the herd.
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This starts out as a pretty basic primer on the subject of fusion, how it differs from fission, etc. etc. There are at least two places where this subject and Bussard himself intersect with the Townsend Brown story, and so it is relevant for that reason. Not the least: you’re not going to get any electrically powered antigravity machine off the ground without a power source like a fusion reactor.
And, for whatever it’s "fusion" is the whole reason I’m here. It all began on a hill-top outside Santa Cruz, CA, in the summer of 1973, when somebody told me about Philo Farnsworth and the fusion reactor he built… and then dismantled. Or so the story goes…. maybe I’ll tell that story in a future post.
Perhaps the really interesting detail here is that an outfit like Google — obviously both innovative and deep-pocketed — is asking questions about their electricity bill…