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Fusion Achieved?

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by ethics, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Seems like the only place that got the science of it right was comments on Reddit. Not surprised, of course, but still quite sad that not even NPR got it fully right.

    If you want a quick explanation and overview AND understand what fusion is and why it's important:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1xq78u/scientists_have_created_nuclear_fusion/


    The way I understood it (and I could be totally wrong) is best explained with an ELI5 type of example:

    Suppose I have one "pellet" of Hydrogen which requires very specific manipulation from lasers to result in fusion, and thus a release of energy. This "manipulation" can be thought of as a very specific pattern that needs to occur with an intense level of precision in order to yield a net-positive energy reaction. Almost like mashing buttons in Tekken, hoping to pull of some complex move, but on a sub-atomic scale.

    We don't know the actual "button combination," but we have methods of getting it correct if we throw enough energy into the lasers. BUT only the buttons that matched the ideal "combination" made it through to the hydrogen and actually CAUSED the release of energy through fusion.

    (I will refer to this ambiguous energy unit as "energies, abbreviated Es)

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    For further illustration, it seems to me....

    previously, this is what we were capable of doing.

    * Power required to run the laser array = 100,000 Es
    * Amount of laser-energy that actually hit the "button combination" = 300 Es
    * Hydrogen Pellet Fusion Energy Release = 100 Es


    So, before this article, by using 100,000 Es, of which, only 300 Es actually contributed, we achieved the desired result: Fusion, which yields 100 Es.

    This is of course very inefficient, and not worthwhile.

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    However, this article seems to indicate a step in the right direction:

    * Power required to run the laser array = 100,000 Es
    * Amount of laser-energy that actually hit the "button combination" = 90 Es
    * Hydrogen Pellet Fusion Energy Release = 100 Es

    The difference here being that it only took 90 Es to cause the Hydrogen to release 100 Es. A net gain of 10 Es! To the scientists, this proves that it is POSSIBLE to create an efficient reaction, as long as we learn how to precisely input those 90 Es without the need for button mashing.

    So, in summary, now the focus is on learning how to ONLY use those 90 Es, and make it repeatable. As opposed to 100,000 Es worth of button mashing, just to achieve the possibility of an efficient reaction.

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