Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sun in a Bottle

Imagine, unlimited power where the only by-product is helium, a non-toxic gas used both industrially and to blow up party balloons.  Sun in a Bottle traces the 20th Century quest for viable, and then commercially viable fusion power.  Building on the (ultimately wrong) Too Cheap to Meter dreams of early fission power and the sensible desire not to create waste products that could bring about the end of the world, scientists on both sides of the Cold War raced to create fusion reactors which produced more energy than they used.  Charles Seife has written a fascinating, if somewhat dry,  narrative of what is still an unsuccessful enterprise.

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