Arthur O. Williams Lecture 2012: Stewart Prager (PPPL)
The Path to Magnetic Fusion Energy
Hosted by Prof. Leon Cooper, Feb. 6, 2012
Abstract: When the possibility of fusion as an energy source for electricity generation was realized in the 1950s, understanding of the plasma state was primitive. The fusion goal has been paced by, and has stimulated, the development of plasma physics. Our understanding of complex, nonlinear processes in plasmas is now mature. We can routinely produce and manipulate 100 million degree plasmas with remarkable finesse, and we can identify a path to commercial fusion power. The international experiment, ITER, will create a burning (self-sustained) plasma and produce 500 MW of thermal fusion power. This talk will summarize the physics progress in fusion research to date, and the remaining steps to fusion power.