Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

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Richard Hull
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Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Apr 05, 2003 4:44 am

Its old news now to me, but to you, here it is.

A recent washington post article notes that Our own Robert Hirsch was fired from Rand corporation because he poo-poo'd fusion efforts as being viable for future energy needs based on the current methodolgy of looking for fusion solutions.

It appears he was doing a special report for Rand under contract by DOE to study future energy trends and what systems looked viable.

Hirsch thumbed his nose at DOE's fusion efforts (which we know was the right thing to do). This ticked off DOE officials, thereby, starting the usual ripple effect down through the chain of command at Rand. Hirsches part of the report was suppressed or "politically corrected" and all was roses again between Rand and DOE. Hirsch got the axe.

For the newbies..... Dr. Robert Hirsch was the principal investigator in the Farnsworth fusion effort after Farnsworth left in 1965. He and Gene Meeks were the inventors of the simpler fusor we use here, now. He is also the former head of the entire AEC and later DOE national fusion energy program in the late sixties and early seventies!!

Read about the whole sordid deal.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... Mar17.html

oops! the article is gone now.

I have attached an excerpt as a simple text file.


Richard Hull
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[The extension txt has been deactivated and can no longer be displayed.]

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.

Richard Hester
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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

Post by Richard Hester » Sat Apr 05, 2003 6:03 am

These types of stunts really make me think that if fusion is going to be successful, it'll need to be done someplace besides government institutions and diploma mills. Sadly enough, the way things are going, this country might not be the first to succeed. However, the fat lady has not begun even to clear her throat, much less sing...

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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

Post by 3l » Sun Apr 06, 2003 1:42 am

Dr. Hirsch was too honest to work in the Government of today.
Government today is all little "g" with a whole lot of "P" thrown in.
P for politics that is.
It doesn't surprise me one bit tho that the bearer of bad tidings got the sack.
The " Randies" of the Randite Religious Group hardly ever let reality into their little world.
Come to think of it the way they work things these days...
their founder Dr Rand probably would be to negative for them....ie realistic.
It's a prime example of little "g" thinking.
What do I mean?
Well long time stuff is out of the question.
If it can't be built in 6 months forget it!
Therefore R doesn't happen very often and only D happens.
Most of what passes for R&D is simply a rehash of past work.
They think inovation and invention is all a matter of train schedules....you know expect fusion by next tuesday ect...good solar energy thursday week.
Too bad mother nature ain't listening!
Never mind the inherent problems ... we want answers ..not problems ect ect.
The happy crap applied with a baister syringe is why the brightest people are ignoring government service, contracting, or even consulting at all costs.

Keep on Fusing!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Apr 07, 2003 8:57 pm

I have baiscally said this in so many words before and I'll say it again.........So far as implemental, practical fusion is concerned, the entire planet is no closer to the goal post than when good ole Lyman Spitzer wrote his first little pamphlet sized book on the subject in the late forties.

After playing at computer modeling, plasma diagnostics, and even building a few small and giant devices, all we have is a lot of first and second generation retirees who have done well BY THEMSELVES in "th' biz". The total money spent is in the billions, but a mere drop in the bucket compared to even moderate defense department 'sanfu's'.

Somehow, someone must standup and say that the emporer has no clothes. I don't see power ready fusion on earth ever being done in plasmas. Of course, fusion is easy to do in plasmas if you have the bucks for a tokamak and don't mind .08% honest efficiencies, ablated interior walls, horrible activation of the device, etc. The fusor is a lot cheaper than a tokomak but is about .00000008% efficient. Fusion is easy, just not practical by any method in use or yet dreamed of by the mind of man. Plasmas are not the stepping stone to fusion, but most likly the stumbling block or road block.

We got the plasma idea from the sun, but we don't have gravity to use as we please....The most mysterious and least understood of all observed forces in the universe.

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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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

Post by Brett » Wed Apr 09, 2003 1:45 pm

The problem is political, not technological, in my opinion. We've had functioning fusion reactors for decades now, which go vastly beyond breakeven. I'm talking about hydrogen bombs, of course.

A truly rational fusion program would start from that success, that one working model for a fusion reactor. It would concentrate on making hydrogen bombs small enough that they could be used for practical power generation, and ideally without fision triggers. Which isn't all that small; Design studies have been done showing you could build a survivable reactor around Hiroshima scale explosions.

But the political obstacles to using "bombs" for civilian purposes have dicated that we avoid the one route to workable fusion we KNOW works. It's so frustrating!

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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!!!

Post by DaveC » Thu Apr 10, 2003 2:12 am

Not to play devil's advocate here, but I disagree as to the impediments... they ARE technological, not political. There are major issues of program politics, pork barrels that have to be filled and etc. But the fact is... you still need about a mega joule of energy delivered in the form of xrays, for a few nanoseconds, in order for some serious fusion to occur. Its extraneous here to deal with breakeven.. And.. when the information disperser says that a commercial sized power plant (read that as 1GW) would need about 1 trillion times that amount, this tells my little brain that they were talking...mWatt levels of sustained power at their present level of accomplishment.

If we put that scale up alongside steam power developments, it takes us back to the time of Hero of Alexandria (??) and his spherical steam reaction device. I think that was 600 BC!!

I am not an expert in the military methods of fusion bombs, but it is my understanding that they too, use vast amounts of Xrays to compress the fuel kernel to produce fusion.

I think Brett has something solid here, suggesting that scaling down might show the way. The military would have no real trouble inventing a program description that would provide justification for the research.. One might, in fact, presume it is already going on. That there have no results made public could indcate no progress, technical infeasibility, or that there are strategic, security or otherwise issues that require it remain classified. I rather doubt the latter, but have no knowledge either way.

One is certain, fusion energy above breakeven, in amounts of pracical significance as an alternative to fossil energy sources, is not on the horizon. The vacuum has "leaked out' of my crystal ball, so it provides no signals about whether a breakthrough is imminent.

Dave Cooper

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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!! (Restart Project Orion!)

Post by marsbeyond » Thu Apr 10, 2003 8:41 am

If political means that the general public has been duped by the Liberals into believing that all nuclear energy is dangerous and to be avoided, then I will agree with you. Project Orion was really stopped by the people that worked on it when they realized that at least one death per launch would be caused by the fallout from the mini-fission bombs that would be used to launch the beast from the surface of the earth. Yet we accept hundreds of deaths everyday from car accidents! Military involvement has kept fission, fusion, and antimatter bomb size and techniques classified for decades, probably to the greater good. I still remember and interesting quote from "Morning of the Magicians," in it a purported Alchemist, Fulcanelli, claims that
a bomb as powerful as a nuclear weapon can be made from substances found in any kitchen. I think he was correct in that Fuel-Air bombs made from natural gas can destroy city blocks, just like small atomics. But have we banned the public from the use of natural gas? The whole notion of the AEC/DOE has done nothing but impede the progress and the use of nuclear energy for decades.
How small can an atomic weapon be? How small, a non-fission, fusion bomb can we build at present? Would they be cheap if mass produced? Have we been sitting on the External Pulsed Plasma Fusion Rocket for over fourty years? If so we have to blame the U.S. Government, and ultimately ourselves for doing nothing to stop it.

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Re: Robert Hirsch fired from Rand Corp!! (Restart Project Orion!)

Post by 3l » Thu Apr 10, 2003 2:49 pm

All your questions were answered a long time ago.
Nukes with enhancement can weigh as little as 20 lbs. (davy crocket hand launched nuclear bazooka 1956).
The first really workable missile defense the Rockoon missile.It worked 99% of the time ...used a 20 kt nuke instead of a fragmenting grenade like the patriot.
With modern day electronics and guidance such a missile would be capable of 99.99 % kills on missiles.
There is plenty back in the past that could be modernized and used.
Keep on Fusing!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

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