- Print ISBN 9780124077935
- Electronic ISBN 9780124078611
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.
Students, researchers, and professionals in physics, as well as those interested in the fun in science.
1. The Fusion Dream
A Cutting Review
Genesis of Fusion Research
2. Harwell Heydays
Arcs and Sparks
3. Stick with Spiders—Tarantula
4. Ph.D. Experiment and Security
My Ph.D. Experiment and Other Plasmas
The Patrol Force
5. Culture Shock
The Oblique Shock-Wave 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
Entertainment in Dubna
9. JET Design: Do It Again, and Again, and … ?
Entertaining Times on JET
Visiting the Former Soviet Union
10. 1977: Back in the U.S.A.
Security—A Serious Matter
The Elmo Bumpy Torus
The Early 1980s
Listening to the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb
11. Conferences in Erice
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
14. Fear and Flying
What’s in a Name?
Flying to D.C.
Interesting Sides of Al Gore
15. The Oscillating Fusion Program
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
"The book is, in a sense, a short history of the quest for fusion, mainly through magnetic confinement, and the various stories paint an interesting picture of some of the characters in the field…It conveys a strong message that fusion is well worth the effort, even though it is likely to be decades before energy is delivered to the Grid."--CERN Courier, April 30, 2014
"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