Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Theory (philosophical discussion)
Date: Aug 08, 11:47 am
Poster: Jim Lux

On Aug 08, 11:47 am, Jim Lux wrote:

>Bravo on the baring of your feeling on the issue of fusion. ..How distant?....can't say.
>Theorists, in general,...

I'm making a huge generalization here:
Theorists tend to be happy knowing why it works.
Engineers want to make it work in the first place.

>The problem is not one of who is right or who is the most likely candidate to win vast changes in mankinds quest for knowledge, but the manner in which scientific endeavors have become rather rigidly stratified in the latter part of the 20th century. The hopeless link between the persuit of science, funding for what became "big science", big business market strategies and military/defense driven development has, in some quarters, stiffled the quest taken by the lone, gifted scientifc investigator, no matter their education or standing in the community of science.
>One only needs to read letters between famous 19th century scientists and amateurs and many books of that period to see the fecundity of imagination, wonder, and open mindedness of many of even the most lofty of those gentlemen.

... Of course, if you read "Longitude" (Dava Sobel's book on the Harrison Chronometer, pub by Penguin) you'll note that all those centuries ago, it wasn't much different.. The establishment wanted astronomical determination..
>Volta, Ampere, Coulomb, Faraday, Crookes, Maxwell, Roentgen, the Curies, Thompson, Rutherford. The list could go on and on.
>How many of these guys experiments cost millions? How many even spent thousands? Hundreds? Some were academics some were self funded gentleman scientists. Some stumbled onto discoveries some provided theoretical bases. Most all got their hands dirty and often funded their early efforts themselves.

Some of them spent quite a bit, when scaled for the value of money. Extracting radium from tons of pitchblende isn't cheap, if you fairly value the labor of those involved. Others begged for resources of considerable value, Fermi doing his early neutron work, for instance.

Maxwell didn't actually do many experiments, but was primarily a pure theoretician, developing elegant mathematics to explain behaviors observed and reported by others. It's not clear from my casual web research, but he must of done some lab work, and he directed an experimental laboratory later in life, but, that's not what he's known for.