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The comic(s) side of fusion - part II

-Robert Arnoux

An improbable encounter between Mickey Mouse and a tokamak in "The Kingdom of Stars," a 1997 Disney publication in German. (Click to view larger version...)
An improbable encounter between Mickey Mouse and a tokamak in "The Kingdom of Stars," a 1997 Disney publication in German.
The "Tokamak Twins" as they appear in the Dresden Codak webcomics series. (Click to view larger version...)
The "Tokamak Twins" as they appear in the Dresden Codak webcomics series.
Marc Gallimard (left), of Tokamak Rock Band, chose the name because "it lingers in the mind." (Click to view larger version...)
Marc Gallimard (left), of Tokamak Rock Band, chose the name because "it lingers in the mind."
The acronym "tokamak," which Russian scientist Igor Golovin (1913-1997) coined in the late 1950s, is soon becoming a household name. Second part of our story on "Tokamak in popular culture."

Mickey Mouse himself encountered a tokamak in "The Kingdom of Stars," a 1997 Disney publication in German. The device, a mere cylinder which had fallen from a UFO, was described as being capable of "melting hydrogen into astrelium - a process comparable to what happens in the sun." Thanks to that "Astral-Tokamak," mankind would "no longer be dependent on oil and exhaustible raw materials." For an enthusiastic Mickey Mouse this meant "energy and culture without borders!"

The "Tokamak twins," Alina and Dmitri, are the main characters in the Dresden Codak webcomics series — not a reference to ITER CODAC, but to the Dresden Codex, one of the few surviving Mayan almanacs, held in the Regional Library of Saxony since the early 1700s.

What makes "tokamak" such a popular name in pop culture today? Artists and musicians like the way "tokamak" sounds — exotic, mysterious and technological. When they learn more about what a tokamak actually is, they like it even better. "I think I read about tokamaks in some book around age ten," says Aaron Diaz, the Portland, Oregon-based author of the Dresden Codak. "I remember being impressed that it was a safe nuclear reaction." Marc Gallimard, a schoolteacher in Marignane who founded the local rock band Tokamak in 2005, says that "even if people do not instantly connect to our music, the name Tokamak lingers in their memory...and they don't forget us."

There are certainly several other instances of an unexpected use of the name "tokamak" in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean or any of the "ITER languages."

So if you know of, or come across, any such instance, please share it with Newsline. We'll be happy to publish it.


return to Newsline #91