Thursday, February 13, 2014

Scientists generate more energy out than energy in?

Controlled fusion
California scientists say they used 192 lasers to compress a pellet of fuel and generate
a reaction in which more energy came out of the fuel core than went into it.


Sounds like a violation of a basic law of physics, doesn't it?  But since we flunked
Physics in high school twice, we’d be the last to question.


The Washington Post today reports:
Scientists are creeping closer to their goal of creating a controlled fusion-energy reaction, by mimicking the interior of the sun inside the hardware of a laboratory. In the latest incremental advance, reported Wednesday online in the journal Nature, scientists in California used 192 lasers to compress a pellet of fuel and generate a reaction in which more energy came out of the fuel core than went into it.
There’s still a long way to go before anyone has a functioning fusion reactor, something physicists have dreamed of since Albert Einstein was alive. A fusion reactor would run on a common form of hydrogen found in seawater, would emit minimal nuclear waste and couldn’t have the kind of meltdown that can occur in a traditional nuclear-fission reactor.
“You kind of picture yourself climbing halfway up a mountain, but the top of the mountain is hidden in clouds,” Omar Hurricane, the lead author of the Nature paper, said in a teleconference with journalists. “And then someone calls you on your satellite phone and asks you, ‘How long is it going to take you to climb to the top of the mountain?’ You just don’t know.”

We don’t know either, but we love the way scientists talk.

Read the full story here 


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