A new computer simulation out of the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, represents a major advance in fusion science, which by modeling the nuclear reactions in the sun’s core, is a potential source of limitless energy for the planet. Using a preheated cylindrical container immersed in strong magnetic fields, the model shows that the release of output energy was, remarkably, many times greater than the energy fed into the container’s liner. “Now we have to see if nature will let us do it,” said Sandia researcher Steve Slutz. “In principle, we don’t know why we can’t.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Achieving stable nuclear fusion would be to wave a magic wand over the Earth’s energy concerns. “Such fusion eventually could produce reliable electricity from seawater, the most plentiful material on Earth, rather than from the raw materials used by other methods: uranium, coal, oil, gas sun or wind.” Scientists are already working to make a physical model of the computer simulation using Sandia’s Z Machine, the world’s largest X-ray generator. Can magnetically driven inertial fusion work? Sandia expects initial results by 2013.
Google versus Facebook. Silicon Valley versus Hollywood. Wall Street versus Main Street. Increasingly, the rivalries and alliances that define our lives have nothing to do with kings, queens, or Congress. What we’re witnessing is a fundamental shift in the way our society is organized.