My Visit w Doug Coulter

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Richard Hull
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Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:50 pm

Doug, thanks for the personal update. We needed it and appreciate your efforts.

One small part of my constant nay-saying related to fusion efforts, regardless of who's doing them is to push the ever-hopefuls forward out of pure spite for my nay-saying. As there are always a vast majority of ever-hopefuls, there is a sub-set, a microscopic few, who are doers. The bulk of the doers and so far all of the doers have failed or charitably, stumbled over and over again on the path. Of this micro subset, most ultimately fall by the wayside and are heard from no more.

I remain amazed at the folks on you-tube who think they are doing power fusion in some jar of water that they have a high current arc thrashing the water about. Many of these are those ex-perpetual motion crowd who gave up on magnets chasing magnets and hitched their faux-science to the fusion cart.

The biggest part of my nay-saying is a genuine belief, based on what I have done, myself, in this area and that which I have observed and helped pay for, via my taxes in Billion dollar boondoggles, that I have come to say..... "Not one child born on 2/11/18 will ever live so long as to see one watt of fusion based electrical energy issue from a wall outlet."

Keep up the bold effort Doug and all the best in the effort.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Doug Coulter
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Re: My Visit w Doug Coulter

Post by Doug Coulter » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:18 pm

Well, thanks for the encouragement, and of course, the insights you've shared - many of which were "just" intuition at the time, but which I've since actually measured and proved to be correct! And oh, your habit of hooking up at least one counter to an audio output might have saved my life. I still have your old geiger counter breadboard, Bill acquired it.

I of course hope your thinking that fusion overunity isn't going to happen is wrong...but that's life. I see this problem more like the MIC saying that say, recovering first stage rocket boosters will never really work or be economical...no new science happened - just hard work and engineering, but it seems they were wrong. And now rockets come down from the heavens and land on their tails - just like God and Heinlein intended.

I do believe that with the dearth of original thinking I observe, you're right - but that doesn't cover quite all the people looking at it. The usual Post hole Diggers - maybe are too institutionalized and interested in tenure to take any big chances. So we have all tokomaks or similar things, and the answer when one fails is always "give me another decade and some billions for a bigger one and it'll work fer sure next time". I'd have fired the lot of them after rev 2 or 3...what # are we on now? It looks like a jobs program for physicists and engineers at this point. Which isn't all bad, but isn't the stated purpose of the expenditures. It now looks like "no one gets fired for going with the herd".

So, whatever the probability, human nature and the way things work mean it's extremely unlikely to be solved by "big science" under the current system of doing things. People have rent to pay and kids to feed...most of them, and have make that priority #1. I'm that lucky donkey that doesn't have that issue...

I'm retired but every day can also be Monday...

Someone said "if it can exist, you can probably see it in your telescope" - the universe is big and been around quite some time, so if you don't see it - such as very high energy density fusion - the initial conditions must be fiercely rare indeed.
We can leave the stars out of this, as some astronomer pointed out, we humans shine brighter in ergs/cc than they do as is.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badas ... n-the-sun/

So, for starters, a "star in a jar" is ridiculous and very misleading - I cringe every time I hear that one, we're all doing far better than that. You'd not even be able to measure that little fusion out of the background noise. And we don't work by gravity pressure, either.

This actually aids thinking down the path I'm following - as Edison (not my hero, but correct now and then) said - knowing what doesn't work cuts down the search space for what does (paraphrasing).

What I'm trying to do is juggle particles -and overcome their tendency to repel one another long enough for the usual quantum statistics to do the work.
Even fission doesn't really manipulate any force - it just piles the rocks together just so. This one isn't going to be quite that easy, but luckily, or so I think, it's going to be possible, just not with (observationally) stationary rocks. We still can't, and don't need to, manipulate any of the other 3 forces of nature, electromagnetism will do here I think - and without DC magnets at that.

The ion trap / mass spec stuff is a clue how it is sometimes done, but this isn't quite the same case. We can learn from what works there, but our conditions have to be different for this to be interesting re fusion - so even that is misleading, other than to show us a math solution to an oversimplified case - which helps by for instance showing that if you go to higher voltages, you get to higher velocities and need a higher frequency of RF to get particles to stay inside the tank walls - control the amplitude of the physical motion. The trick is going to be (seems to be) doing this in such a way as to have them all in the right place at the same time, and not to waste input energy doing that.

If we for the moment allow that this is true, it becomes obvious why we don't see this in our telescopes. Deuterium isn't concentrated much anywhere in nature (it'd go boom pretty quick if it was). Fields of the sort it seems are required don't seem to happen outside our labs, and so on.

I believe we don't need new science per se to get there - just a new way of looking at what we know already, kind of with malice aforethought (what can I pull off) vs journalism (explaining what happened). Standard model, well, it works really well for the latter - it describes, without being a great predictor - we still need to engage that uniquely human imagination for the prediction part, and with no prediction (right or wrong), there's no point in going to the lab to see if we were right or not...and without that, we never really learn anything.

I'd add that even if we don't get to over unity - we get to very interesting medical applications (for example) at far lower neutron fluxes...
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I still have hope!
Why guess when you can know? Measure!

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