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Discuss fusion-related developments, personalities, and events. Explore how we got to where we are today.

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New Post is Up

Post by mattman »

New Post is up.

It draws parrellels between the effort to build a fusion reactor and efforts to fly. ... sible.html

Post Summary:
This post examines the history of inventing the airplane - considered impossible - as a guide in inventing fusion power. It opens by connecting the Polywell to magnetic mirrors, the Lorentz force, NIF and the fusor. The problems of x-ray cooling, thermalisation, a single prohibitory high temperature and neutrons are also mentioned. Flight was universally considered impossible. The public treated those who pursued it as cranks and a 100 years of failures supported this view. Today, the world sees the fusioneer in the same light. In 1893, Octave Chanute compiled every flying attempt in a book. Today, no such book, covering all ideas broadly and objectively, exists for fusion. He built a community of amateurs and organized general flying conferences. Otto Lilienthal’s' 26 years of flying attempts is compared to Dr. Bussard 21 years of work on the Polywell. An analysis of why Sam Langley - who led the federally supported attempt – failed, is included. Langely did not focus on flying principals, fixed on high power machines, spent money on extraneous equipment, used faulty data and preformed few experiments.

The Wright brothers used simple cheap machines, had a fresh view, objectively questioned all information and performed many tests. They used dimensionless ratios and models, to simplify designs. They also argued extensively. Unexpected results, forced them to re-measure the lift tables. After success - they were ignored or chided by the military, the media and the public for several years. Flying news was only spread by word of mouth. It is argued that this would be true today; based on ideas in the book “The Purple Cow”. The Wrights were also placid; and this helped people accept their ideas. Frank Lahms promotional work is also mentioned. Finally, a summary of 13 lessons for today’s fusion researcher is included.

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