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Dr. Bussard Passes Away, Polywell Fusion Continues 79

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fighting-the-fight dept.
Vinz writes "Dr Bussard, the man behind the Bussard Collector and inventor of the Polywell fusion device, passed away last Sunday in the morning. He leaves behind him a legacy of EM fusion devices, and a team determined to continue his efforts. The news of funding extension for the construction of his WB-7 fusion devices made it to slashdot months ago (as well as his talk at google). They may be a serious candidate in the run to bring commercial fusion, and may work at lower scales than other projects. Let's hope the project continues in good shape despite his departure."
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Dr. Bussard Passes Away, Polywell Fusion Continues

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  • With no Bussard, where are starships going to get their blinky engine lights from?
    • by Applekid (993327)
      We've got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking, beeping and flashing - they're flashing and they're beeping. I can't stand it anymore! They're blinking and beeping and flashing! Why doesen't somebody pull the plug?!
    • Re:Aw, man... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rickola (1172965) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:52PM (#20960019)
      I posted the following to the TrekBBS: "Dr. Robert W. Bussard has died. Star Trek tech fans will know the name, though perhaps not the man himself, from the matter scooping mechanism he proposed and which we finally named in his honor on The Next Generation's U.S.S. Enterprise. By all means check Google and Wikipedia for further information about his accomplishments and hopes for new energy and propulsion systems. I knew him for a time in the early 1980s, as I had written an article on interstellar travel for Science Digest magazine that included his concepts as well as those of Drs. Robert Forward and Robert Enzmann (the three "Bobs" of far future flight). As part of the scientific help Bob Bussard gave me for that article, he sat in my living room in Irvine, California, scribbling calculations for waste heat radiators on a new version of his ramjet ship, and it was a wonder to watch and listen. It was an honor to translate his doodles and numbers into finished art. He was generous with his time and knowledge, and while I hadn't talked to him for a few years, I will miss him." It seemed fairly obvious that folks like "Franz Joseph" Schnaubelt, who drew up the deck plans for the original series U.S.S. Enterprise, knew something of Bussard's ideas for the ramscoop, since the spinny red caps were labeled as "matter/energy sinks" or something very close to that (my copy of the plans is away in a box). I'm not certain that Matt Jefferies heard about the scoop at the time he sketched the ship out, but he might have. When it came time to do Star Trek: The Next Generation, we in the techy side of the art department decided to give a name to the hardware, and so it shall stick. Rick Sternbach
      • I thought Larry Niven named the matter scoop after Bussard -- in his Known Space novels and stories, there are frequent references to "Bussard Ramjets", a fictional propulsion system consisting of an electromagnetic scoop that collects hydrogen from space, and a fusion-powered rocket that uses some of the hydrogen for nuclear fusion, and uses the remainder as reaction mass. I'm pretty sure this was long before STtNG.
        • by rickola (1172965)
          Oh, I didn't mean to say that we were the first to name a piece of space hardware after Bussard, just that we did it specifically on Star Trek for a bit of the machinery that fit. I also learned about the ramscoop/ramjet by reading Larry Niven's books - as well as illustrating them. :) Rick
      • This is not to diminish his other work and Bussard may have accomplished other good engineering work, but if anybody should get credit for the "Bussard collector", it should be the people making it actually work eventually. If it ever does work, the amount of brilliance that needs to go into the engineering (not to mention getting the funding!) will be far greater than the initial idea, an idea probably many people would have come up with by then independently.

        His work on the Polywell is different: there h
    • sheeeeep .... sheeeeep shp .... shp How much air does that door need to open/close?
    • Murdock: "What have you found?" randomguy: "All I've found is that these red lights keep moving back and forth. Aside from that this thing seems to have no other function! whatsoever sir. Murdock: "Well that's impossible, I mean.. it must have... some.. sort.. of function I mean why would they go and put all that money to a thing with red lights that keep going back and forth! It doesn't ...make... any sense. Keep working on it.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:10PM (#20959373)
    I hope they cremate him in a fusion reactor. I'm sure it's hot enough.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:22PM (#20959579)
    It's referenced in the summary. I hadn't heard about Bussard or the polywell. It sounds promising. Navy-funded research too. I'm sorry this person died before he could see it through to demonstration. Hopefully this really works.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690)
      You should watch the presentation he made at a google tech talk last year. He was very enthusiastic about his work, and managed to carry that through to his talk, despite his obviously-poor health at the time. It was a great talk.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to Bussard, "The funds were clearly needed for the more important War in Iraq." [7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell [wikipedia.org] Ouch. In terms of value for money, though, gambling our money away on a wild scientific flier would be a much better investment than starting the war in Iraq.

    The other thing that caught my attention was Bussard's comment that they should go straight to full scale. He may or may not be right. Most people who have been around the block more than once would be sceptical though.

    • According to Bussard, "The funds were clearly needed for the more important War in Iraq." [7]
      Perhaps he was just being ironic?
    • by nutshell42 (557890) on Friday October 12, 2007 @05:53PM (#20960715) Journal
      The other thing that caught my attention was Bussard's comment that they should go straight to full scale. He may or may not be right. Most people who have been around the block more than once would be sceptical though. When you are trying something new, there is almost always a gotcha or two.

      It's one of the things that had the alarm bells ringing about the Polywell because it's something you'd expect from someone who wants to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

      But I think in his case he just saw the writing on the wall. He knew he wouldn't see a full-scale reactor if it was done step-by-step, he was just too old for that.

      I really hope someone with the required expertise will take an honest look at the Polywell. The concept sounds good and the central question seems to be whether the plasma will move into thermal equilibrium or not. And the paper every critic cites is one master thesis written by the student of one of Bussard's rivals for Navy funding. Hmmmm...

      Now, the fact that your opponent's not trustworthy doesn't mean that you are, but I think that considering all the money that goes into ITER a few million for looking at different approaches (mostly this and lasers/inertial confinement =) are a good investment.

    • The other thing that caught my attention was Bussard's comment that they should go straight to full scale.

      My understanding is, the current work is not for a full scale reactor, it's for WB-7, a more robust version of WB-6. The intention is to validate the concept with more results and longer runnings times. If and when WB-7 has produced some solid results, the results will be reviewed and deliberated. If the results merit further work, I believe the Navy will proceed with a full-scale model for net po
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday October 12, 2007 @07:33PM (#20961639) Journal
      The other thing that caught my attention was Bussard's comment that they should go straight to full scale. ... Most people ... would be sceptical... When you are trying something new, there is almost always a gotcha or two.

      In this case he believed he had the scaling laws down. With power proportional to the seventh power of the radius and energy gain proportional to the fifth power, you were only talking about building a device maybe 10 times the radius of the lab device. That's TINY as fusion experiments go, and also compared to fission plants. And the thing is basically a slightly gassy vacuum tube with some magnets in it, i.e. mostly empty space, very little material.

      If there are any gotchas you'd have to scale it up about that much to find them. So why go halfway and then build a full-size one when, if it turns out there AREN'T any gotchas you've got an operating power plant on the next step?

      His plan was to do two more small prototypes, to get some more solid data than his three-neutron final run and compare two geometries for the final deaign, then go for the gotchas-or-gold. If it works, it gets you to production right away and you didn't spend a dime on yet another intermediate prototype. If it doesn't, you're not out all that much more than if you built some intermediate size that was maybe big enough to find the gotchas.

      Suppose there AREN'T any gotchas. Then we get to working fusion power years sooner. Ditto if there are gotchas that only show up at the scale between the intermediate prototype and the full-size design. In either case the time spent on the middle-size below-break-even prototype was wasted.

      Baby steps are for people who get their money from researching and will be looking for a new job once things are actually working. Big steps are for people who want to get to the finish line.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Baby steps are for people who get their money from researching and will be looking for a new job once things are actually working. Big steps are for people who want to get to the finish line.

        That's a lousy policy. If we gave money to everyone who claimed all they needed was 100 times as much money as they'd ever invested in a project before, we'd be spending several times the GDP of the world on perpetual motion trash.

        Which is not to say I don't think the Polywell concept is worthy of further funding, b

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lonewolf666 (259450)
          I agree...

          Quote from GP:

          In this case he believed he had the scaling laws down. With power proportional to the seventh power of the radius and energy gain proportional to the fifth power, you were only talking about building a device maybe 10 times the radius of the lab device. That's TINY as fusion experiments go, and also compared to fission plants. And the thing is basically a slightly gassy vacuum tube with some magnets in it, i.e. mostly empty space, very little material.

          If there are any gotchas you'd h

  • by User 956 (568564) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:34PM (#20959765) Homepage
    Dr Bussard, the man behind the Bussard Collector and inventor of the Polywell fusion device, passed away last Sunday in the morning.

    He didn't simply pass away. He was a victim of entropy.
  • Electron losses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:35PM (#20959785)
    The catch to these devises appears to be that if you have a strong enough electrostatic field to contain the ions then you will also lose A LOT of high energy electrons (Rider 1995), thus reducing the confinement efficiency. As Rider notes, capturing the escaping electrons to recover their energy may make the scheme feasible for D-T fusion ( there are other issues as well however).

    Personally I think stellarators are more promising. For those who don't know stellarators are a bit like Tokamaks, except rather than relying on an electric current in the plasma to create the necessary twist to the magnetic field for confinement, they twist the confinement vessel itself ( a bit like a moebius strip ), making them a lot more stable than Tokamaks, and allowing them to operate continuously (You can't induce a DC current in the plasma so Tokamaks necessarily operate in pulses ). Main problem seems to be that since stellerators have a lot less symmetry than Tokamaks the calculations become more difficult, but if computing power continues to rise this will probably be solveable.

    As a bonus stellarators look damn cool ; )
    http://www.efda.org/pictures_html/stellarator_schema_and_live.jpg [efda.org]
    http://www.psl.wisc.edu/hsx.jpg [wisc.edu]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Wow. Now that's a piece of technology that actually looks as cool or cooler as what the special effects teams rig up for any scifi pic.
    • the idea in the polywell isn't to contain the ions, but to contain the elcetrons, which will attrack the ions.
      • Re:Electron losses (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BlueParrot (965239) on Friday October 12, 2007 @06:11PM (#20960867)

        the idea in the polywell isn't to contain the ions, but to contain the elcetrons, which will attrack the ions.


        From Maxwell's equations div B = 0, so magnetic field lines cannot suddenly stop, and thus magnetic fields alone cannot confine charged particles in a plasma which has the same topology as a sphere ( a charged particle that travels along a magnetic field line will escape the confinement ). Consequentially you WILL have electrons leaking out of the magnetic mirrors, and this effect will increase as the potential well height increases.

        Tokamaks and Stellarators don't have this problem because they are topologically equivalent to a torus, and thus their magnetic field lines can completely enclose the plasma, while simultaneously not penetrating the plasma facing components.

        There are further problems with the polywell design. As an example, even at optimal energy levels the reactants will fail to fusion in many of the collisions, and thus the ions will thermalise much quicker than they fuse. Bussard claimed he could avoid thermalisation of the ions, but this is simply not possible in the polywell design since it would require a spontaneous process to transfer energy between the ions in such a way that their overall entropy decreases. While the polywell is not a closed system, and thus not subject to the second law of thermodynamics, there is no meaningful energy input other than the initial potential energy of the ions, and thus for thermalisation to be avoided there would have to be a large entropy flow out of the plasma, and thus it would quickly cool to levels bellow that required for meaningful fusion. In short, you will rapidly get thermalisation of the ions, which in turn leads to X-ray losses from the electrons. If you did heat the plasma, by say injecting microwaves or neutral particle beams, it would still not avoid the problem of thermalisation unless you managed to selectively accelerate the low energy ions, while simultaneously slowing the fast ones ( and of course, if this energy exceeds the fusion power, as it will have to do in order to overcome the speed of thermalisation, then you won't get net energy out of the device ).

        While we are at it, no, you are not going to produce a Boron plasma with any significant number density without getting electrons in it, just calculate the electrostatic force you would get on an electron outside the device from 1 mole of boron nuclei and you quickly see that this is absolutely impossible. Even if the proton/electron ratio is just 5/4, Q = N_a, so you are talking roughly 6*10^23 times the proton charge ( or 60 million Coulomb ).

        You then have to take into consideration other problems, like sputtering of plasma facing compounds, giving impurities that cool the plasma ( and since all potential plasma facing compounds have Z numbers of 6 or above, this will further increase X-ray losses ). There is no proposed way to design a divertor, so the device could most likely not operate for extended periods of time.

        Basically I don't see this getting a confinement time even close to that of a Tokamak or Stellarator. The number density will be dramatically less ( since it is limited by the height of the potential well ), and it just doesn't seem likely you will get even close to the lawson criterion. Granted, you don't need to achieve ignition in order to extract a lot of energy, but you won't get a high value of the nTtau triple product without raising T to very high energies, which impacts the amount of energy you can gain.
        • Mod parent up...
        • Thanks, I guess that's pretty much "Nuclear Fusion for Dummies"!
        • Re:Electron losses (Score:5, Interesting)

          by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Saturday October 13, 2007 @02:23AM (#20963855)

          Instead of producing lengthy expositions about the flaws of technologies that you don't understand, why don't you try learning about them instead? From your post, it is clear that you neither understand, nor have you read any of Dr. Bussard's papers on the subject. Given the topic of this story, you could at least have enough respect to do so, before spreading FUD about ideas.

          First of all, no one is claiming that the divergence of a magnetic field is non-zero. The fact is, the "wiffle ball" trapping of electrons in a Polywell is more than adequate for the task. Electrons escaping through the cusps do not equate to losses, as they usually follow the field lines right back into the machine.

          In any case, it is highly disingenuous to claim that a Tokamak has no difficulty confining a plasma. While the topology of a Tokamak (or a dipole as in the LDX) may be a better configuration for containing charged particles, this ignores the fact that the ions have a much greater mass. After a number of collisions, it is inevitable that they will smash into a wall. The only solution to this problem is to make the machine bigger, but it is still far from ideal.

          Your calculations concerning a Boron plasma are complete nonsense; as described in his recent paper, only a slight deviation (1E-6) from neutrality is necessary to make a well nearly as deep as the drive energy.

          Overall, there are at least as many, if not more challenges, in producing a commercially viable Tokamak. I won't discount either approach yet, but the Polywell certainly looks a lot more promising. A quasi-spherical potential well simply seems like a much better place for a sustainable fusion reaction than a divergence-less B field. Wether or not it works out, it certainly deserves more attention and less unfounded condemnation.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BlueParrot (965239)

            Instead of producing lengthy expositions about the flaws of technologies that you don't understand, why don't you try learning about them instead?

            Well I have seen Bussard's alleged explanation for why he can maintain a non-maxwellian velocity distribution, and quite frankly, it can't work. He seems to argue that there is a spontaneous process in the system which restores the non-maxwellian distribution because the ions thermalise at low energies at the perimeter of the device. However:

            a)Restoring a particle

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by BCGlorfindel (256775)
              He seems to argue that there is a spontaneous process in the system which restores the non-maxwellian distribution because the ions thermalise at low energies at the perimeter of the device. However:

              a)Restoring a particle distribution to a non-maxwellian energy distribution requires work. It doesn't matter how you do it...


              And your missing the same thing Rider did. Thermalizing a distribution is just nature. Because of the inherent design of all IEC devices, ions spend >90% of their lifetime in the outer
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BCGlorfindel (256775)
          From Maxwell's equations div B = 0, so magnetic field lines cannot suddenly stop, and thus magnetic fields alone cannot confine charged particles in a plasma which has the same topology as a sphere ( a charged particle that travels along a magnetic field line will escape the confinement ).
          Then you've plainly not looked at Bussard's design on even a classical physics level, as he agreed with you. The magnets are held at a high positive potential and electrons are allowed to exit through the cusps and be dra
    • Re:Electron losses (Score:5, Informative)

      by BCGlorfindel (256775) <klassenk@@@brandonu...ca> on Friday October 12, 2007 @05:26PM (#20960429) Journal
      The catch to these devises appears to be that if you have a strong enough electrostatic field to contain the ions then you will also lose A LOT of high energy electrons (Rider 1995)

      And Bussard insisted that Rider's math model was flat out wrong. Recent experiments by Yoshikawa and MIT have both demonstrated that Rider's model is, in fact, wrong.
      The Polywell design has tremendous merit to it and the experiments that Bussard managed at the end of his life were successful in measuring fusion scaling factors and electron loss factors. From those experimental results Bussard's team rushed together what was expected to be their last device in WB-6. On analyzing the data it generated, it achieved record breaking fusion rates. Now that the navy has re-funded his team to finish WB-7, expect to see some big announcements in a year or so.

      For more on Polywell theory and background go here. [talk-polywell.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mako1138 (837520)
        I've read Rider's papers and thesis. He basically goes through the various ways of creating a non-Maxwellian electron/ion distribution, and shows that there are significant problems with those concepts. The Polywell is supposed to sidestep those issues rather than proving Rider wrong.

        WB-6 ran for a short time and a few neutrons were caught in a detector. The estimated fusion rate is an extrapolation that I am not entirely comfortable with. The statistics simply are not there, nor do I agree with the claim t
        • I've read Rider's papers and thesis. He basically goes through the various ways of creating a non-Maxwellian electron/ion distribution, and shows that there are significant problems with those concepts.

          I've been through Rider's paper too. He essientially claims that ALL IEC devices of any sort can not maintain a non-maxwellian distribution. However, there is no basis for using the math models of particle distributions that he uses other than that they make the math easier. Read Rostoker .et al for better de [harvard.edu]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:36PM (#20959803)
    Cue the inevitable silly poster who chastises us all for making jokes about someone's death, and the +5 Insightful reply explaining how laughter is a way of coping. Don't forget the meta-comments describing the very phenomenon ;D!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Applekid (993327)

      Cue the inevitable silly poster who chastises us all for making jokes about someone's death, and the +5 Insightful reply explaining how laughter is a way of coping. Don't forget the meta-comments describing the very phenomenon ;D!
      So, in other words, try to act surprised when it happens?
    • by Cctoide (923843)
      You need a for-loop in there so people can't get at you for having insufficient metalevels.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Sloppy (14984)
      How dare you trivialize someone's meta-comment?! Someone meta-commented, dammit, and all you can think about is karma whoring. You people make me sick.
    • by Neoncow (802085)
      Recursive meta-comments are our way of coping.

      Mod insightful pleeze. /ducks
  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:51PM (#20960005)
    "may work at lower scales than other projects"???? - One of the main reasons for pushing for the WB7 model was that they couldn't get positive net energy at small scales. The prediction was that they'd need something on the size of a standard fission reactor to see viable energy output. Plus, the design team originally modeled all the coils with as a zero thickness circle and couldn't understand that when they built the thing that the coil circle centers had to be spaced apart which caused field losses. After seeing stupid design errors like that, I don't have much faith in the research team, but still the concept is worth investigation.
    • by BCGlorfindel (256775) <klassenk@@@brandonu...ca> on Friday October 12, 2007 @05:31PM (#20960487) Journal
      Plus, the design team originally modeled all the coils with as a zero thickness circle and couldn't understand that when they built the thing that the coil circle centers had to be spaced apart which caused field losses. After seeing stupid design errors like that, I don't have much faith in the research team, but still the concept is worth investigation.

      Actually, they initially designed it with permanent magnets and drove the electrons right into the magnets themselves. But the point was to prove electron densities in the center could get high enough for fusion. Regardless of the mistakes made along the way, the got the concept to work for their final tests and expect some big results from the new WB-7 some time next year.
      • by fluffy99 (870997)
        Actually the results from WB-6 were inconclusive and ended with the destruction of one of the models coils before completing testing. The Bussard's team is claiming that fusion briefly occurred during a few of the millisecond-long run times. Peer scientists are all pretty skeptical, claiming the measurement methods were flawed, that their calculations predict much higher losses, the scaling ration isn't r^5, and that the design will never be able to generate a positive flow of usable energy. Without soli
        • Without solid data or independent verification of the results, Bussard is still claiming they can skip the intermediate scale testing and go straight to full-scale.

          Bussard never claimed smaller scale tests should be skipped all together. In the google talk he comes off as an academic intent on his field, not a nut. His proposed plan always was the construction of WB-7 and WB-8 devices in ~1 year, but that a committement to the full size device should be made in order to higher good people, since good people
          • by fluffy99 (870997)
            He claimed he was done with small scale testing and was ready for full-scale testing. His original intent was to prove the scaling with WB-6. WB-7 and WB-8 were the two alternate designs for full-scale. When WB-6 failed before proving his scaling theories (at least to peer review and potential sponsors), WB7 and WB8 were dropped back to small scale designs.
            • His original intent was to prove the scaling with WB-6. WB-7 and WB-8 were the two alternate designs for full-scale. When WB-6 failed before proving his scaling theories (at least to peer review and potential sponsors), WB7 and WB8 were dropped back to small scale designs.

              Sorry, you've got your timeline messed up but good. WB-6 was built in a rush when the team's navy funding had already been terminated(as a smaller part of a R&D line item cut). The hope was that it would reduce electron losses as they
  • Warp Factor 11 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday October 12, 2007 @05:01PM (#20960145)
    From the wikipedia article:
    In principle, the Bussard ramjet avoids this problem by not carrying fuel with it. An ideal ramjet design could in principle accelerate indefinitely until its mechanism failed. Ignoring drag, a ship driven by such an engine could theoretically accelerate arbitrarily close to the velocity of light, and would be a very effective interstellar spacecraft.

    So what would happen to people or computers travelling inside the ship?
    Would they move forward through time at accelerated speed? or end up in deep-space oblivion?
    • There's a fantastic sci-fi book called "Tau Zero" by Poul Anderson about this.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tau_Zero [wikipedia.org]

    • Tau Zero [wikipedia.org] by Poul Anderson [wikipedia.org] is a good sci-fi story about a ship with a Bussard Ramjet getting really out of hands. Basically, due to an accident the crew of a spaceship are stuck on accelerating forever, fly into intergalactic void, creep ever closer to the speed of light and experience sufficiently serious time dilation to eventually notice that there are no new stars forming anymore, galaxies are getting dimmer as the old stars start to fade away and to top it all, the universe has become old enough to star
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2007 @05:03PM (#20960179)
    .."inventor of the Polywell fusion device, passed away last Sunday in the morning. He leaves behind him 2 long flaming tyre tracks and a mysterious note about Libyans"
  • by xevioso (598654)
    I read about Polywell about two months ago here. After doing some research on it, I was very much enthusiastic about what I found out and wanted to build a website that would look more professional than the one the polywell folks currently have. At that time, they were still trying to find funding and/or investors, and it was my belief that having a real website, like a lot of energy companies and other places where people have ideas that need funding, would help out. I built one, with the idea that even
  • The Bushard ramjet is a central piece of technology in Larry Nivin's "Known Space" A universe that encompasses the bulk of Nivins stories. In fact one of the the Halo video game series shares allot of similarities with the Ring World series.
  • He gave a presentation about his research to Google. A little long, but I found it interesting. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1996321846673788606 [google.com]
  • He "passed away"?? You mean he died, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know it is a bit off topic, but seeing as we are discusing confinement, I would love to hear someone comment on Leslie Woods' (a late mathematician from Oxford) equations. Basically, from what I understand from the Nerenberg lecture he gave [apmaths.uwo.ca], he claimed that the majority of the gap between what the equations predict and what is observed in reality is not due predominantly to missing turbulence, but rather to a missing non-turbulence term.

    Unfortunately, from what I understand of what he said, despite his

    • by Iowan41 (1139959)
      Thomas Kuhn _The Nature of Scientific Revolutions. Everyone with a college education should read it. Science is a very useful tool, but scientists are people, and behave like people in groups.
  • I loved the Niven known space series with the Bussard ramjets.

    After reading through the presentation and arguments above I have not no hope that his polywell device will work. I guess we might have more info some time next year.

It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. -- Woody Allen

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