Teaching Fusion To The Public (On Wikipedia) by Fusion Advocates
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This is an interesting approach. I like the idea generally speaking but have difficulty understanding the long-term impact here.
It is not clear how the proposal "will increase the odds of realizing commercial fusion power". The analogy of manmade flight was given, but I am not convinced by the analogy. Two brothers could build an airplane. Doing serious fusion research is on a totally different scale. The proposal implies that a better educated public may lead to breakthroughs, but no pathways were identified.
Fusion research cannot be done in a garage and the financial costs to do significant experiments is very large. How can these barriers be addressed? In summary, I cannot see how this proposal will lead to a significant reduction in GHG emissions from the electricity sector.
Please clarify the proposal in relation to the points noted above if you intend to re-submit it to future contests.
Sep 30, 2015
Just as an update:
We have been working with groups like the Fusion Energy League and the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab to build out articles on fusion power plants. It is a start. It would have been nice if MIT had not shut down this proposal, because this contest gave us a focal point to organize around. Beyond this, the possibility of securing funding would also help things - from being able to pay graphic artists, to offering small awards for well written Wikipedia edits and improvements.
I think the judges misunderstood the importance of fusion power, this proposal and how public education is mission critical if we want to see fusion funding turn around. Concepts like magneto-interial fusion, magnetized target fusion and field reverse configurations have languished and struggled over the past 20 years due a lack of funding, awareness and information.
Meanwhile, machines like ITER and NIF have received the lions share of the funding due to our collective ignorance of any alternatives. Today, we know that ITER or ITER-based power plants are not on a commercial path (a 50 billion dollar price tag?) and that will effect fusions ability to help the world deal with climate change. Ironically, this is happening at a time when doing fusion has become so simple a teenager can do it in his basement.
Dr. Matt Moynihan