Every now and then, a scientific breakthrough changes the world. From the Copernican heliocentric model of the universe and electricity to penicillin and the discovery of the structure of DNA, these developments transform our globe — and another one has been reached.
A new breakthrough with world changing potential.
For most of human history, why stars glitter and the sun shines were a mystery. But, in 1920, British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington suggested that stars get their energy from the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium. Nuclear physics pioneer Hans Bethe identified the process that underpinned Eddington’s theory in 1939.
On December 5, 2022, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory proved that theory for the first time in a laboratory. They achieved “fusion ignition,” reproducing the process that powers the sun, which created a fusion reaction that produced more energy than it took to trigger it. They achieved fusion ignition again this past July.
Nuclear fusion has the potential to deliver an inexhaustible supply of cheap clean energy to any region or geography on the grid already in place, create a market worth trillions, and meet the world’s escalating need for energy expected to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2050.
Read the full piece here.