I can’t remember the professor who suggested this to me, but I think it is pretty profound. When it comes to things that you believe are real, it is always a good guideline to think that must be real if it already exists. So, now that we have been told by our governmental researchers they can produce fusion (the same energy source as the sun), perhaps we shouldn’t be celebrating just yet.
You all know that our sun is not unique. All of those bright, shiny objects in the sky use the same energy production methods, so we KNOW fusion works and produces an enormous amount of energy, and for a long time. On so many levels, the research is impressive for sure, but perhaps we are not asking the truly important questions.
Go ahead and ask any science teachers you know or any theoretical physicists. They will all admit they do not know how these bright objects were created in the first place. Yes, you read that correctly … go and check it out for yourself. Even though we have almost countless examples of this in our universe, we simply have no idea how they were formed. Yes, we have theories. But no one can explain this … and my next statements should give us pause. You do remember Madame Curie learned the hard way that radioactivity was harmful and exposure will kill you?
Now, read all the press on fusion and tell me whether this idea is safe and practical. These suns are not contained to provide energy in a controlled way. Nothing can exist close to them. Oh, and by the way, why isn’t anyone talking about the size issue here. Our sun is a relatively small star and is so big that its gravitational force holds our solar system together. Why isn’t anyone talking about the scale issue?
Here is a nice summary from the New York Times:
Why is this result such a big deal? As a clean source of energy, nuclear fusion could help replace polluting fossil fuels and overcome climate change. And if the remaining challenges — of which there are many — are figured out, nuclear fusion could produce more energy than today’s technologies are capable of.
Serious barriers remain before that potential future, experts caution. Can scientists reliably replicate what they’ve done only once? Can it be done more efficiently and more quickly? Can it be scaled up? All these questions are serious enough that, if not overcome, yesterday’s announcement may ultimately amount to little.
Do you remember when Einstein and others worried that the atomic bomb was a bad idea. Yes, it was the beginning of a nuclear age with wonderful examples of power plants in our world. But, it is also the basis of our greatest fears since this same energy source can wipe us out.
What is clear is that we are about to be asked to pay dearly to follow this path … but no one is asking where that path really leads.