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A Piece of the Sun: The Quest for Fusion Energy 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I noticed Clery took a few "liberties" with how the sequence of events evolved. There are a couple of places where the book could have better explained the scientific reasons behind program decisions and could have better explained the implications of scientific discoveries. Fusion scientist have accomplished a great deal of physics in 60 years of fusion research. If there is a weakness to "A Piece of the Sun" is that Clery did not explain fusion's important scientific ideas as well as it related the history of big science politics and personalities along fusion's road to bigger and bigger machines.
The book is an exciting read, and I couldn't put it down.
Spoiler alert: Fusion's story is still unfolding, and Clery's final chapter ends abruptly with about as many questions left hanging as when he began with Chapter 1. No one knows today how fusion energy research will unfold. in a decade or so, Clery will need to write a sequel...
Summary: A terrific and well written introduction to one of the world's greatest scientific efforts.
I highly recommend this to everyone interested in science, technology, and politics.
In his narrative, the author details the many breakthroughs, the disappointing setbacks, the joy of discovery and the agony of defeat - and of course the many brilliant minds that have tackled so many seemingly intractable problems in this elusive quest. On the technical side, the basics of how fusion works are discussed clearly as are the nature and behaviour of plasma and how it can be confined. Over the more than six decades that work has progressed in this field, and billions of dollars later, there has been some progress - steady but slow. Funding is also shown to have played an essential role and how dependent it has been on the social/political/economical climates over the decades.
I found this book to be lively, fast-paced, accessible, captivating and difficult to put down. The only less than positive comment that I have is that the book could have had a few more adequately detailed diagrams to illustrate the technical descriptions in the text. This book can be enjoyed by anyone, but science enthusiasts and those interested in the recent history of science and technology should be in for a treat.
"We owe everything to [nuclear] fusion. Our own Sun and every star that shines in the night sky are powered by fusion. Without it, the Cosmos would be dark, cold, and lifeless. Fusion fills the Universe with light and heat, and allows life to happen on Earth and probably elsewhere. The Earth itself, the air we breathe, and the very stuff we are made of are the products of fusion."
The above comes is the first paragraph of this informative book by Daniel Clery. He studied theoretical physics at York University in the UK. For more than two decades, Clery has edited and written for some of the world's top science magazines such as "New Scientist" and "Science." He has covered many of the biggest science news stories of our time.
So, just what is nuclear fusion? The best way to answer this question is to compare nuclear fusion to nuclear fission (which is what occurs in the nuclear power plants of today). Nuclear fission occurs when a heavy atomic nucleus (such as that of the element Uranium) captures a neutron and then fragments into two lighter nuclei. Sustaining this process to other heavy nuclei, we are able to get a chain reaction which releases large amounts of energy.
Nuclear fusion, on the other hand, occurs when light nuclei reduce their energy by combining to form a heavier nucleus. Before they are able to unite, the light nuclei must travel at high speeds (that is, they must have large energies) in order to overcome the repulsion between their like charges. There is a net release of energy during the nuclear fusion process only when a dense mass of light nuclei is maintained at a very high temperature.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best books I've ever read (and I've read it twice already. The author does an amazing job of covering the history of fusion research, and at no point did the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Technical, but one would expect that based on the subject matter...informative readPublished 3 months ago by Bob Speigel
its a good detailed history of fusion technology - the money spent so far and why we need to spend billions morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I often watch Discovery Channel and especially the BBC documentary ("Can we Make a Star on Earth-2009", Brian Cox), about fusion energy. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Cheng Fan Soon
Very well written , easy to read and best part is that it presents facts over viewpoint. So not judgmental ..its weitten by a scientist rather than a meat head humanist!!Published 16 months ago by Vaibhav Gupta
its strictly OKAY goes too much into raw unwanted technical aspects and a lot of unrequired background history.does not focus much on the core aspect of the premise,i. Read morePublished 17 months ago by mohit bhat
I thought it was a very good book. Despite it being a very technical topic, it was an easy read. My retention level of much of detail was low because I'm not familiar with the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Smith
A Piece of the Sun: The Quest for Fusion Energy (2014) by Daniel Clery is a history of research into fusion power. Fusion power has long promised effectively infinite power. Read morePublished 18 months ago by sien