Enable Recite

Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

Your email address will only be used for the purpose of sending you the ITER Organization publication(s) that you have requested. ITER Organization will not transfer your email address or other personal data to any other party or use it for commercial purposes.

If you change your mind, you can easily unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe option at the bottom of an email you've received from ITER Organization.

For more information, see our Privacy policy.

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Remembering Bernard Bigot, ITER Director-General 2015-2022

    On the ITER site, the machinery of construction was humming just like on any weekday. Workers were concentrating on their tasks, laying rebar for new buildings [...]

    Read more

  • Tokamak assembly | Preparing for the Big Lift

    The distance was short but the challenge daunting: on Thursday last week, the first section of the plasma chamber was lifted 50 centimetres above its suppor [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | 13th toroidal field coil arrives from Europe

    The toroidal field coil procurement effort has been one of the longest of the ITER program, initiated by Procurement Arrangements signed in 2007 and 2008. Manuf [...]

    Read more

  • Diagnostics | Final Procurement Arrangement signed

    ITER Diagnostics reached an important milestone in December 2021 when it concluded the last Procurement Arrangement of the diagnostics program. After signing a [...]

    Read more

  • On site | A quick visit to the Control Building

    Work is progressing on the ITER Control Building, ergonomically designed for the 60 to 80 operators, engineers and researchers who will call it home.  [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

Fusion energy: Not a pipe dream

The new book on fusion describing the progress made in the past two decades. (Click to view larger version...)
The new book on fusion describing the progress made in the past two decades.
Al Gore's book and video An Inconvenient Truth raised the public consciousness about the dangers of global warming and climate change. Another book has now been published that intends to convey the message that there is a solution. "A solution not only to global warming caused by anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, but also to the depletion of fossil fuels and to the wars in the Middle East related to our dependence on their supply of oil," says Francis F. Chen, the author of An Indispensable Truth.

In 1954, Francis "Frank" Chen was among Lyman Spitzer's first 15 employees at Princeton's Project Matterhorn, now known as PPPL. There, he instituted experiments on linear machines that led to the discovery of resistive drift waves, whose mechanism he worked out while on sabbatical at Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, in 1962-63. Two other young physicists were there at the same time: Paul Rebut and Robert Aymar, who later were instrumental in designing ITER. At UCLA since 1969, Frank opened up research on laser fusion, laser accelerators, and low-temperature plasmas.  He never lost interest in magnetic fusion, however, and decided that the greatest need was to explain fusion to the public. This book is his first attempt. 

Determined to tell the ''indispensable truth'' about fusion energy: Francis ''Frank'' Chen. (Click to view larger version...)
Determined to tell the ''indispensable truth'' about fusion energy: Francis ''Frank'' Chen.
"Most legislators and journalists have regarded fusion as a pipe dream with very little chance of success," Chen writes in his introduction. "They are misinformed, because times have changed. Achieving fusion energy is difficult, but the progress made in the past two decades has been remarkable. The physics issues are now understood well enough that serious engineering can begin." In his book, he gives in-depth and detailed information on why he believes this to be so.

Written "for a variety of readers, from green enthusiasts with no science background to Scientific American magazine subscribers," Chen's book gives a comprehensive summary of the stakes of climate change and energy supply—and how controlled fusion fits into the picture. "I tried to give a concise, impartial picture of the facts," Chen writes, admitting that he himself is not an expert on climate topics. "Here I am out of depth. I get my information from the same newspapers, magazines and websites that you do. But I think it is important to put fusion in the proper context within the general scheme of the world's future."

An Indispensable Truth is both an entertaining and an informative book that manages to explain the complexity of plasma physics without using formulas. "This is an important book for anyone who wishes to understand the greatest challenge we face," writes Steven Cowley, Director and CEO of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, UK and one of the book's reviewers. "Frank Chen makes the science of fusion and energy clear, compelling, and hugely enjoyable."

To read the book online, click here.



return to the latest published articles