Fusion: The Search for Endless Energy

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 26, 1990 - Science - 267 pages
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The book abounds with fascinating anecdotes about fusion's rocky path: the spurious claim by Argentine dictator Juan Peron in 1951 that his country had built a working fusion reactor, the rush by the United States to drop secrecy and publicize its fusion work as a propaganda offensive after the Russian success with Sputnik; the fortune Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione sank into an unconventional fusion device, the skepticism that met an assertion by two University of Utah chemists in 1989 that they had created "cold fusion" in a bottle. Aimed at a general audience, the book describes the scientific basis of controlled fusion--the fusing of atomic nuclei, under conditions hotter than the sun, to release energy. Using personal recollections of scientists involved, it traces the history of this little-known international race that began during the Cold War in secret laboratories in the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and evolved into an astonishingly open collaboration between East and West.
  

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Contents

The invention of Dr Spitzer
16
Behind closed doors
33
Friends and rivals
54
Dawn of the tokamak
82
Building big science
98
Japan cautiously enters the race Politics delays a joint
110
The political plasma
126
The modern fusion lab
143
The plasma Olympics
161
Struggling to sell fusion
188
In sight of breakeven
213
Fusions past and future
228
Notes
241
Basic physics of fusion
255
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About the author (1990)

Robin Herman is currently Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard School of Public Health.

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