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: Skepticism? NO,.. honesty!
Date: Jan 19, 09:11 am
Poster: Richard Hull
On Jan 19, 09:11 am, Richard Hull wrote:
>>After re-checking my recent notes, tapes, etc from interviews with all the Farnsworth team members, I must conclude, due to emphatic, unilateral statements made by each and every team member that......... at no time, ever, during the entire period of fusor work by any team member (1959-1968 ITT - until 1972-end of BYU era), did any sustained or even suspected sustained fusion reaction occur!
>IIRC, in one of Farnsworth's bio's on this WWW site, his biographer says he demonstrated the fusor working after the power is switched off?!
Unfortunately, there is no recorded instance where any team members ever saw a sustained reaction and certainly no evidence in the corporate record. Had there even been a trace of this ITT and ultimately the world would have elevated Farnsworth to Sainthood, and we would all have fusors in our basements humming away with no overhead wires. This was the very thing Furth was looking for to secure multiyear funding from ITT, but he had to show executives of ITT in person this was the case. He constantly interupted the team's work to pass ITT big wigs through the Fort Wayne fusor lab to keep the interest alive. If they ever had anything that was cooking well enough to be repeatable he would have had a mass meeting of ITT execs in Fort Wayne for the ultimate "show and tell". This never happened. The most probable reason for this is that sustained, reproducable, fusion never took place.
I recently interviewed a secret player on the team that is never pictured, but who was there from 1961 to 1968. His name was Fred Haak. He was a project engineer working beside George Bain in keeping Farnsworth's fusor in action. He is the only team member who noted that the fusors, on occassion, would seem to "run away". Current would go up and always a hole would be burned in the chambers. Many would hear this and ascribe all manner of wierd circumstances to it. I keep an open mind. First of all, a sudden increase in current means the machine was demanding more power input than normal..... not that it was producing more power. (although it could have been) We only know that it was power hungry all of a sudden, demanding much more drive energy. This could signal the beginning of some major fusion event inside the device. It could also signal some simple runaway gas ionization condition. (ala hydrogen thyratron)
In 100% of the dozen or so instances where this occured over the years, the fusors were all damaged and had to be shut down and repaired.
Don't go off half cocked! Don't envision gaping, smoldering holes in the fusors! Haak noted that the holes were hell to find and were often only manifest on next start up! They resulted in the failure to secure a new vacuum of the proper level. Upon examination, they would find a small discolored spot on the chamber with no vibible hole. It was a pin hole! Still, air leaked into the chamber at a rate which the pumps could not handle.
Haak noted that it might have been a matter of a year or more and he felt they might have had that much sought after sustained reaction! This was the most positive response from all team members interviewed!!!