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Of Interest

See archived articles

The early years of fusion: the Russian story

Myriam Jacobs

Sometime in the mid-1970s, the Russian Soviet Center for Science Film produced a documentary on the early years of fusion research.

"O lyudyakh I atomakh" ("Of people and atoms") takes us to the very beginning of the fusion adventure, when in 1950 a young soldier named Oleg Lavrentiev wrote a letter to Stalin describing his concept for an "electronic trap." This was later to evolve into "magnetic confinement."

The "heroes" of fusion in Russia are all there: Lavrentiev, Igor Tamm, Igor Kurchatov, Boris Kadomtsev, Lev Artsimovitch. The film even provides a glimpse of Vladimir Mukhovatov, now a senior scientist at ITER, back when he was a young scientist in the control room of T-4 - or was it T-6?  "At the time," he says in this trailer, "we were building one and a half tokamaks every year."








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