Researchers have finished the first phase of an unorthodox, low-cost nuclear fusion experiment that has generated a megawatt's worth of buzz on the Internet – and they are now waiting for a verdict from their federal funders on whether to proceed to the next phase.That is a disappointment. However it is not completely negative so maybe further work is warranted.
Richard Nebel, leader of the research team at EMC2 Fusion in New Mexico, declined to detail the results of the project, saying that was up to the people paying the bills. But he did said “we have had some success" in the effort to reproduce the promising results reported by the late physicist Robert Bussard.
"It's kind of a mix," he said.
Nebel said his leave from Los Alamos is due to reach the one-year mark in mid-September, but he doesn't foresee any problem in extending the leave if the second-phase funding comes through. Whether or not the Navy funds the next phase, the past year's effort has been worth it, Nebel said. "We're generally happy with what we've been getting out of it, and we've learned a tremendous amount," he said.You will note that yours truly (IEC Fusion Technology blog) got a link from Mr. Boyle. I'm honored. If you haven't seen the material before read the link he gave Tom Ligon. And if you are interested in following the progress to date read Fusion Report 13 June 008 which has links to previous reports.
All that learning won't go away. "Regardless of what happens to it, we're going to get this thing well written up and documented," Nebel said.
Getting the experiment's findings down on paper will help the EMC2 team - or future teams of fusion researchers - advance the legacy left behind by Bussard. And that's a fitting tribute to the unconventional physicist as the calendar rolls toward the anniversary of his death.
"Bob Bussard was a truly innovative person, that's abundantly clear," Nebel said. "I hope he will be remembered for that. I think that will be the case."
I can't wait to read the full report.