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: Crunch time for Big Fusion?
Date: Oct 19, 10:15 am
Poster: Richard Hull

On Oct 19, 10:15 am, Richard Hull wrote:

>*IF* we decide that these Big Fusion projects are required, then the Manhattan bomb project is an example of the sort of people I had in mind.


Therein lies the rub...............

We are too wishy-washy at this stage! We are not fundamentally and absolutely committed to fusion as a national goal. We only have a vague idea that fusion is important and that energy will be needed at some point in the future.

A manhattan type project would indeed be required to move forcefully and positively in the right direction. RH

>The guy the U.S army put in charge of the project (can't remeber his name at the moment) was not a physicist, he was an Army Engineer. He had a clear idea of what the end result should be, enough technical background to be able to follow what was going on and the experience in running a big project with lots of people, and keeping them focussed and on track. He probably would have made a good cat herder as well :-).

General Lesley R. Groves was the guy. He was the man who built the Pentagon just prior to WW II. What better iron fist could be found? He was indeed a hardnosed mover and shaker. He was indeed the man for the job. He quickly admitted to himself that he was not savey enough to follow the physics, but like any good General, he chose Oppenheimer to head up the theoretical physics division, made him a colonel rank equivalent in the war effort and now only had to whip one boy, herd one cat, and he did this mercilessly and was constantly on Oppenheimers ass. Oppie quickly learned how to herd his people and gained leardership experience and discovered how to shepherd his free wheeling acedemics.

Groves was the point man. All Oppie had to do was suggest that his people needed this or that and Groves would threaten, jail or beat who ever he had to inorder to make the physicist's needs immediately available.

The "Admiral" in the Farnsworth/ITT effort was their Groves. Ex-admiral Fredrick Furth was an ITT vice pres. in charge of research. He and Phil formed a partnership in the fusion arena and the power of the Admiral coupled with the ideas of Farnsworth, got the team assembled and the effort underway. The Admiral nurtured his "chicks" like a mother hen and cut through "red corporate tape" constantly. He had been the head of the entire giant Naval Research Laboratory complex for several years and was a trained engneer/scientist and knew how to get projects done!

So, YES, once we commit and once the public treasure is wide open for the effort, a military General grade engineer or scientist is the man to get and not some dispeptic, flatulent acedemic egghead. The scientists need to be treated as cattle with one of their most respected members placed on a pedestal as overseer.......... and the overseer regularly beaten and hammered into fine metal as a useful and cogent interface. RH


>At this stage we are roughly at the same qualatative level of understanding of fusion, as they were about a working A-bomb before the war. They understood the theory, had the practical experimental experience to back it up, and a rough idea of how the system should work.

I totally agree here. Well spoken. RH


>Perhaps one of this guys first decisions would be to can the big reactor and break up the project into a number of focussed mini-projects along the line of the experimental reactors you have mentioned.


We need:

1. A totally focused, nationally driven and accepted, "break the bank" program.
2. A hardnosed General grade officier who has a track record of success in mega-project managment with a science or engineering background.
3. A science leader who is highly repected amongst his peers.
4. Small Groups of gifted people broken off from the herd focused on one tiny facet of the problem.
5. Everyone sequestered from a normal lifestyle until the job is done. This fifth criterion is a must have. No one with a Phd. will fart or daudle around burning off days of their lives, while living in barracks, eating every meal in a chow hall, crapping and showering in communal bathrooms, behind barbed wire fences. They will become very focused on the project's successful completion at the earliest possible date not only for the scientific goal, but to allow them to return to the good life - Real life.

Temper or alter any one of the above and the project will just be a bigger, longer running boondoggle than has ever yet been launched.

The maxim is: plan, decide, commit, make it so. If nature can do it, we can do it. How committed are we?

Richards Hull