The Energy of the Universe


  • Garry McCracken, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Culham Laboratory, Oxfordshire, UK
  • Peter Stott, Département des Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Cadarache, France

Unraveling the role of fusion in the universe has taken almost a century since Einstein's proof of the equivalence of energy and matter in 1905. The discovery that fusion reactions are responsible for the building of the light elements in the "Big Bang" and the subsequent development of the heavier elements in the stars and in exploding supernovae is one of the field's most exciting successes. In this engaging book, McCracken and Stott reexamine these discoveries in astrophysics and discuss the possibility that fusion reactions are not only our sun's source of power, but may also be induced for our use on earth.
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Professionals and undergraduate students in Physics and Engineering, especially Nuclear Engineering. Also appropriate for general science enthusiasts.


Book information

  • Published: January 2005
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-481851-4


"This book is a delightful account of the role played by nuclear fusion in the universe, and of man’s attempt to harness it...It describes a broad spectrum of fusion nuclear physics and plasma physics topics...unique in its coverage." - George C. Vlases, University of Washington "The coverage is excellent--the authors know this field...This is a very readable insider’s account of an important area of science." - W.M. Stacey, Georgia Tech University

Table of Contents

ContentsForewordPrefaceAcknowledgments1 What Is Nuclear Fusion?1.1 The Alchemists’ Dream.1.2 The Sun’s Energy1.3 Can We Use Fusion Energy?1.4 Man-Made Suns1.5 The Rest of the Story2 Energy from Mass2.1 Einstein’s Theory2.2 Building Blocks2.3 Something Missing3 Fusion in the Sun and Stars3.1 The Source of the Sun’s Energy3.2 The Solar Furnace3.3 Gravitational Confinement3.4 The Formation of Heavier Atoms3.5 Stars and Supernovae4 Man-Made Fusion4.1 Down to Earth4.2 Getting It Together4.3 Breaking Even5 Magnetic Confinement5.1 The First Experiments5.2 Behind Closed Doors5.3 Opening the Doors5.4 ZETA5.5 From Geneva to Novosibirsk6 The Hydrogen Bomb6.1 The Background6.2 The Problems6.3 Beyond the “Sloyka”7 Inertial-Confinement Fusion7.1 Mini-Explosions7.2 Using Lasers7.3 Alternative Drivers7.4 The Future Program8 False Trails8.1 Fusion in a Test Tube?8.2 Bubble Fusion8.3 Fusion with Mesons 9 Tokamaks9.1 The Basics9.2 Instabilities9.3 Diagnosing the Plasma9.4 Impurities9.5 Heating the Plasma10 From T3 to ITER10.1 The Big Tokamaks10.2 Pushing to Peak Performance10.3 Tritium Operation10.4 Scaling to a Power Plant10.5 The Next Step10.6 ITER11 Fusion Power Plants11.1 Early Plans11.2 Fusion Power Plant Geometry11.3 Magnetic-Confinement Fusion11.4 Inertial-Confinement Fusion11.5 Tritium Breeding11.6 Radiation Damage and Shielding11.7 Low-Activation Materials12 WhyWe Need Fusion Energy12.1 World Energy Needs12.2 The Choice of Fuels12.3 The Environmental Impact of Fusion Energy12.4 The Cost of Fusion EnergyEpilogueUnitsGlossaryFurther ReadingIndex