A Piece of the Sun: The Quest for Fusion Energy

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9781468304930: A Piece of the Sun: The Quest for Fusion Energy

Our rapidly industrializing world has an insatiable hunger for energy and conventional sources are struggling to meet demand. Oil is running out, coal is damaging our climate, many nations are abandoning nuclear, yet solar, wind, and water will never be a complete replacement.

The solution, says Daniel Clery in this deeply researched and revelatory book, is to be found in the original energy source: the Sun itself. There, at its center, the fusion of 620 million tons of hydrogen every second generates an unfathomable amount of energy. By replicating even a tiny piece of the Sun’s power on Earth, we can secure all the heat and energy we would ever need.

Nuclear fusion scientists have pursued this simple yet extraordinary ambition for decades. Skeptics say it will never work but, as A Piece of the Sun makes clear, large-scale nuclear fusion is scientifically possible―and has many advantages over other options. Fusion is clean, green and virtually limitless and Clery argues passionately and eloquently that the only thing keeping us from proving its worth is our politicians’ shortsightedness. The world energy industry is worth trillions of dollars, divert just a tiny fraction of that into researching fusion and we would soon know if it is workable.

Timely and authoritative, A Piece of the Sun is a rousing call-to-arms to seize this chance of avoiding the looming energy crisis.

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About the Author:

Daniel Clery studied theoretical physics at York University. As a news editor for Science magazine since 1993, Clery has covered many of the biggest science news stories of our time.

From Booklist:

In the ancient myth of Prometheus, Clery finds a metaphor for the labors of twenty-first-century scientists now striving to bring heavenly fire down to earth. In the U.S., Europe, and Asia, these modern Prometheans are building bold new technologies to create energy the same way the sun does: by fusing hydrogen atoms. Explaining cutting-edge science with remarkable lucidity, Clery probes the subatomic dynamics of fusion, clarifying both the reasons that the world’s best physicists have repeatedly failed to harness these dynamics and the reasons that, with new tools, they now believe they can succeed. As readers contemplate the size of the new tools, they will recognize why a single fusion project—such as the Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) currently under construction in France—involves difficult international negotiations over costs and personnel. Above all, Clery illuminates the reasons for large investments in fusion as an energy alternative the world desperately needs as oil reserves dwindle and global temperatures rise. A timely perspective on truly urgent science. --Bryce Christensen

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