Fun in Fusion Research book cover

Fun in Fusion Research

This book discusses the fun side of the quest to develop fusion energy-a modern equivalent of the hunt for the Holy Grail. After more than 70 years of research, despite great progress, the goal has not been realized. Do you have to be crazy to love quests like this? Not really, but you do have to have an unshakeable optimism. Through humorous anecdotes, and accessible yet detailed scientific discussion, this book illuminates the enjoyment of scientific research through an account of fifty years working on fusion energy development. The anecdotes bring out the human side of research, in which innovative and sometimes egocentric scientists create both clever and nutty experiments. Among the many stories within are witchcraft at Harwell, shocking experiences, entertaining talks, and the wit of top scientists such as Marshall Rosenbluth. Above all the book highlights the significant advances made in developing practical fusion energy and the promise for an exciting future with the National Ignition Facility and International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. This book will be of interest to physicists as well as other students and researchers in the scientific and wider communities.

Audience

Students, researchers, and professionals in physics, as well as those interested in the fun in science.

Hardbound, 160 Pages

Published: February 2013

Imprint: Elsevier

ISBN: 978-0-12-407793-5

Reviews

  • "This book has many interesting stories to complement both the history of the world fusion program and John Sheffield’s part in it. I recommend it to all those who are interested in the history of the fusion effort and who also wish to see that "all work and no play" would have made John a dull boy."--Fusion Science and Technology, November 2013
    "He has participated in and made contributions to both the theoretical and experimental aspects of plasma science and fusion research. But most important (for this book), he has clearly had a keen eye, and an acute memory, for the very human and "fun" side of such serious work."--21st Century Science & Technology, Fall-Winter 2013
    "Sheffield shares stories from his research work at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, the University of Texas, the Joint European Torus, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and recalls humorous exchanges unleashed during fusion energy conferences. The comedy enlivens the normally dry science of fusing light elements to generate energy and shows that even plasma physicists can have a little fun."--Reference & Research Book News, October 2013
    "Fusion veteran John Sheffield has written an entertaining account of the ‘fun’ times he has had traveling around the world doing research, giving talks, and cavorting with other scientists equally dedicated to the pursuit of the "ultimate" energy source…The book has many interesting stories to complement both the history of the world fusion program and John's part in it."--Fusion Power Report newsletter, May 16, 2013
    "There is enough detail explaining fusion, and describing the history and variety of experiments over the last half century, to inform the new reader. But the enjoyment of Sheffield's book is immediately obvious." -- 21st Century Science & Technology, Fall-Winter 2013


Contents

  • Introduction

    1. The Fusion Dream

    Big Bang – A Cutting Review - Genesis of Fusion Research - Magnetic Fusion Configuration History (1930s-1950s) - Inertial Fusion (1960s)

    2. Harwell Heydays

    Arcs and Sparks - Unusual extra-curricular events

    3. Stick with Spiders--TARANTULA

    Tarantula - Static Electricity - Dress Code

    4. PhD Experiment and Security

    My PhD Experiment - The Patrol Force

    5. Culture Shock

    Unexpected Diversions – The Oblique Shockwave Experiment – Two States Separated by a Common Language

    6. Talks Can Surprise Us

    Cakes and Ale

    7. Culham Again

    Neutral Beams and CLEO – A Weird Occurrence

    8. JET: Larger and Larger

    JET Travels – Entertainment in Dubna

    9. JET Design: Do It Again and Again

    JET Follies - Shocking Experiences – Fun in the Soviet Union

    10. Back in the U.S.A.

    Security is a Serious Matter – The Elmo Bumpy Torus – The Early 1980s

    - Listening with the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb

    11. Conferences in Erice

    The Winding Tokamak Road – The Inferneti

    12. The Winding Stellarator Road .

    Stellarators and Koji Uo – The Advanced Toroidal Facility (ATF)

    13. Fusion’s Prospects

    The Dinosaur Chart – The Art of Stating Goals: JET and TFTR – What’s in a Q? - The Shiva Winner Altruistic Trust (SWAT)

    14. Fear and Flying

    Fear – What’s in a Name – Flying to D.C. – Interesting Sides of Al Gore –

    Interrupted Talks

    15. The Oscillating Fusion Program

    The Oscillating Fusion Program – International Fusion

    16. What About Fusion Energy?

    Sir Walter Raleigh Selling Fusion Energy

    17. Fusion and the Universe

    Forces in the Universe

    Fusion Power Plants

    Fusion Energy and the Plasma State

    Background to Magnetic Fusion Energy (MFE)

    Background to Inertial Confinement (IFE)

    Main Challenges for Fusion Energy Research

    Achieving a Stable Plasma – Confining the Plasma Energy

    – Heating and Fueling the Plasma – Handling the Fusion Power

    – Challenges for a Fusion Power Plant

    Reflections on Fifty-three Years in Fusion Research

    Acronyms

    Glossary of Terms

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