The AmSci Journal has reported on plenty of wonderful citizen science projects from watching fireflies to monitoring plant growth in your own backyard, but now this is some serious amateur research… build your own fusion reactor.
Harnessing the power of nuclear fusion–forcing two or more atoms together so close that they join to create a new, heavier nucleus, and release a ton of energy at the same time–has been the holy grail in nuclear energy research since the 1950s… after uncontrolled nuclear fusion was used to create the powerful hydrogen bomb. Fusion is the process that powers the stars in our universe, and it does not result in piles of radioactive waste that will take eons to decay. So, if nuclear fusion can be generated in the lab and the released energy efficiently exported, then energy for civilian usage could become incredibly cheaper and infinitely safer for our environment.
This noble task has been taken on by a close-knit group of nearly one hundred amateur scientists around the world, many of whom have already built at least one version of a fusion reactor in their home laboratory (i.e., basement, attic, or garage).
Read the following story on Kit Hull and Frank Sanns featured in The Wall Street Journal, and see how amazing the amateur research community can be.
“Nuclear Ambitions: Amateur Scientists Get a Reaction From Fusion” :: The Wall Street Journal :: August 18, 2008 :: [ READ ]
The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium :: [ VISIT ]
And check out some of the efforts from the “big boys”…
“Virtual National Laboratory for Heavy-Ion Fusion” [ VISIT ]