One hundred years ago Arthur Stanley Eddington conjectured that stars are powered by fusion reactions and speculated that one day humans would generate power by fusion. Not yet. However, private capital is flooding into fusion research driven by the lure of fusion's promise of sustainable “firm” power and optimism about new technologies. I will discuss the benefits of these technologies including high temperature superconducting magnets, permanent magnets and liquid metal systems. I will also discuss the advances in understanding the physics of confined plasmas and the growing efforts to find optimal fusion configurations. There is increasing confidence that, with these advances, an electricity producing Fusion Pilot Plant could be operational before the middle of the century. The fusion community is calling for a concentrated effort to design such a plant.
Speaker: Steve Cowley, Princeton University
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