Physicists discuss fusion progress at a Bay Area lab
Since the beginning of time, humanity has longed to create the sun. And for more than 70 years, scientists have known how to create an artificial nuclear fusion reaction, forcing positively charged particles to collide and fuse, generating enormous amounts of heat. It’s something the sun has been doing for about 4.6 billion years.
But every time humans have tried it in the past, it took enormous amounts of energy to heat up the protons and get them moving fast enough to overcome their natural repulsion for one another, far more than the reactions themselves have generated. . Containing the reaction, that is, preventing it from becoming a bomb, has also proved risky. Achieving those two goals has been a holy grail, a dream that holds tremendous promise for clean energy, long-distance spaceflight, and other science-fiction breakthroughs. It’s also been “20 years” since the concept has existed.