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: A word of warning
Date: Apr 29, 1:43 pm
Poster: Richard Hull

On Apr 29, 1:43 pm, Richard Hull wrote:


My article in the "Bell Jar" and the most recent issue of the "Electric Spacecraft Journal", describing the fusor and details for amateur construction, has drawn a well worded, kind, but cautionary letter from Professor George Miley at the University of Illinois, Urbana campus, Fusion Laboratory.

It seems that he, the Univesity and Daimeler Benz have entered into a business arrangement based on some recent patents involving the Farnsworth Hirsch fusor. I suppose he modified it a bit and is patenting the modifications. They hope to market the fusor as a relatively compact and inexpensive neutron source.

Note* All of the Farnsworth/Hirsch/ITT fusor patents have lapsed and are public.

He stated that my promoting the fusor as an experimental device might violate some of their current patents. I doubt if this is really so. However, if you have even the remotest idea about using the fusor as an active neutron source for professional research or if you have some silly notion about selling one or going into some sort of business involving the manufacture of same, you had better watch your step.

All my boosting and articles thus far have given instructions on a "concept demonstrator" using air only, with additional quick overviews of what it would take to go nuclear with the device. All were intended for amateur scientist/experimenter types only! The thrust of my efforts is to study ion multipacting ala Farnsworth and investigate fusion itself at the lower level of amateur research. I have also included numerous warnings and caveats about the hazards of making the device an actual neutron producing fusor.

I don't think we have any real worries as long as we are in personal, private, dink around mode........But go professional, or accept bread for making neutrons or neutron generators and you may have to duke it out with someone, somewhere sometime, over real or imagined infringements.

Professor Miley also seemed a litle miffed that I did not reference his work in my articles. I wrote back that I had never seen his work until after both of my articles were submitted and gone to press. To alleviate this, he kindly sent me several recent papers of his. He has been quite busy and has done a scholarly job of it. I would suggest all who want to learn more reference, in particular, his August 97, IEEE transactions on plasma science article, Vol25, no. 4. It is THE BEST overview I have yet seen!

All of my startup info came from my friend and Dr. Robert Bussard's "lab rat", Tom Ligon, in those early days of June 97. As we went on, Tom made oblique references to me of Miley in Illinois and a couple of other researchers in Wisconsin and Los Alamos. (November 97). I used Tom's info and my person to person interviews with the Ex-Farnsworth team members to assemble my first fusors.

I think it was Bob M. who published a nice list of references with NTIS in Feb or Mar of 98 on this board which prompted me to order my first actual article by Miley which I received in Early April from NTIS. This was the first "in hand" data I had from Miley! I tried to call him twice and left messages with the physics department staff and answering machine. I never heard from him and figured that either he was too busy, it was an oversight or I was too small a fish. When my article appeared, He sent me the nice "care package" post-haste. Sometime you are never noticed until you drop your pants!

Tread carefully guys!

Richard Hull