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: Amateur Science Was: There be neutrons!
Date: Feb 25, 12:02 pm
Poster: Richard Hull

On Feb 25, 12:02 pm, Richard Hull wrote:

In the response from Doug Fix below he realizes the wisdom and value of emperical hands-on work. So very few folks value this old style, raw, self- teaching, emperical approach. Many realize they don't know much about some of the disciplines touched upon by the delving into matters like this and would put out the extra effort to READ up on what they need to know, and often become frustrated and finally, limp off the field.

The great thing is, this has a natural culling effect, separating the doers from the dilitantes.

Glad to hear you worked on what was then, in high school, a cutting edge effort. Today we have those lasers in solid state $19.95 pocket key chain laser systems.

Doug, you have a good vacuum background which will serve you well should you take up the fusor effort. Thank goodness you won't have the mercury diff pump to contend with anymore.

Richard Hull

P.S. My high school heyday was the late fifties and early sixties. The crushing defeat of the US in space by Sputnik was a major driving force of my era and the "Atoms for Peace" program and IGY spawned a whole generation of rocket scientists and engineers.

The government was actively involved in getting amateurs assistance. I ordered 20 microcurie quantities of coblat 60, Iodine 131 and other isotopes for FREE, directly from the US government Oak Ridge nuclear pile facility! They were sent to my home, and the postman carried them in his leather mail bag in small lead vessels. This was part of the Atoms for Peace program which was an effort by the goevernment to secure a lead in what was to be our nuclear future by assisting young high school students with nuclear science fair work and experiments. A teacher's signature was all that was required on a special goevernment form and the materials were delivered not to the school, but to the home of the experimenter!! Gone are those days.


>I'm not so sure that my questions are particularly meaningful, but I try to be thoughtful.
>I understand a little bit about motivated amateurs and gentleman scientists. Back in my high school days (late 60s), a good friend of mine and I constructed an HeNe laser as a science project (it worked reasonably well). I found the most interesting parts to be learning how difficult it is to sustain a decent vacumm, how to manage interesting electrical potentials (neon sign transformer), dealing with toxic chemicals (mercury vapor vacumm pump, gasp!), and how to scrounge support, and materials from folks who had better things to do with their time and money.
>I wish you luck. Perhaps I will join the fray once more when I find(?) more than a few spare moments.