In December it was announced that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory National Ignition facility has achieved its first goal of “Ignition”, in which 192 powerful lasers focused on a small pellet of fuel led to a sustained fusion reaction for a fraction of a second that released more energy than it received from the incident laser light. Following on requests from many readers, I describe the science behind this experiment, and the wishful thinking associated with it, regarding the possible use of fusion as an unlimited power source for humanity in the future.
This special holiday edition of Science Matters accompanies our last podcast, with Augusten Burroughs, which was about another kind of wishful thinking. I hope you enjoy this science as much as I hope you enjoyed that delightful discussion with a wonderful writer.
Happy Holidays from Critical Mass, The Origins Foundation, the Origins Podcast, and from me.