Friday, August 29, 2008

Fusion Report 29 August 2008

Alan Boyle has the latest on the EMC2 fusion experiments.
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.

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.
That is a disappointment. However it is not completely negative so maybe further work is warranted.
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.

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."
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.

I can't wait to read the full report.


Unknown said...

Pretty thin gruel. I'm glad Nebel is willing to stick around another year. He wouldn't if there weren't avenues to pursue.

Let's hope the Navy finishes their review soon and approves a general release.

Martin C said...

I think this is really positive! Of course Rick Nebel cannot be anything other than completely circumspect right now. His scientific work for the past year is being scrutinised by a high-powered panel as we speak - his scientific reputation depends on not second-guessing them or releasing results prematurely. And if that wasnt enough, he also has responsibilities to his team and to EMC2 to consider, and he is a man of integrity.
So right now he can say just nothing.
But he can hint: "Dr Bussard was a truly innovative person, thats abundantly clear. I hope he will be remembered for that. I think that will be the case." ==>> Dr. Bussard was on the right track and our experiments can find nothing to disprove it; a scaled-up version should I hope and think reach break-even; if it does the thing will be forever rightly known as the Bussard Fusion Reactor.
Here's hoping!

Momma Bear said...

So many exciting things going on right now in the field.. All in good time!

Momma Bear said...

I got sidetracked with some of the links you provided in your blogs.. and it kept us up.. until nearly four in the morning! lol. OMG.. one leads to another.. and.. another.. I've added about six books to my list to order from Barnes and Noble!

It's an amazing world we live in!

Tom Cuddihy said...

martin c, that's a pretty generous reading of Rick's statement. I think it's just as likely that "I hope he will be remembered for that" is a postcript to "although it performed better than WB-6, WB-7 did not validate the scaling laws that Bussard claimed for going from WB-6 to a net power machine, BUT...Dr Bussard was a truly innovative person, that's abundantly clear..."

"I hope he will be remembered for that." i.e.,not remembered for making unproven extravagant claims about his particular approach to fusion in the last two years of his life.

I have no real evidence to support this reading--Dr. Nebel is extremely circumspect. But it fits the statement better,especially since "mixed" is decidedly not "excellent," but not the kind of statement you would see if Bussard were guilty of falsifying results or made some simple mistake that invalidated the WB-6 results. It's exactly the kind of statement you would see if adding the time-domain information showed different processes to be underway than Bussard had assumed, especially WRT to the wiffleball formation. But it's also the kind of statement that makes it clear that Bussard was pursuing an exceptionally promising and uncharted area that should continue to be researched for scientific reasons.

Momma Bear said...

Howdy!! Patiently awaiting a blog entry telling what EXCITING things that happened during the test run!!

Lobo7922 said...

Are there any news yet?

M. Simon said...

I'm in regular contact with Dr. Nebel and so far not even a hint of a whisper.

As soon as the news breaks I will post it at:

IEC Fusion Tech
Power and Control
Classical Values

dmelfi said...

There was a cold fusion fiasco in 1989 when an paper was published showing a net energy gain from a cold fusion process. Later this was debunked and totally discreditied publishers. Problem with sensing devices etc. Everyone will be VERY CAUTIOUS about experiments due to that, I would read too much into that caution, AT THIS POINT.