Bringing the latest news of fusion research to a Tennessee liberal arts college, LPP’s Lerner led a seminar on Focus Fusion as the Fast Route to Fusion Energy on Nov.12 at Sewanee, University of the South. The two-hour seminar with the college’s Physics Department students and faculty was part of LPP’s ongoing initiative to enlarge the audience for our work beyond the fusion community and those following fusion developments. During the seminar with a few dozen participants, Lerner explained the links between the basic physics of Maxwell’s Laws, which underlie electromagnetic theory, and the way the dense plasma focus device works. The video of the seminar will be edited into an online seminar, which will be posted on LPPFusion’s website in the coming months.
“We’re looking for way to bridge the gap between what the average person knows—which is not much science—and what they need to know to understand how Focus Fusion works” explains Lerner. “This seminar, with a sharp group of physics undergraduates who had no previous courses in plasma physics, is part of our effort to boil down the basic concepts that we use to understand the DPF. If people get those concepts, then they’ll know much more about what a necessary, safe and feasible technology this is.”
After the seminar, Physics Department chair Dr. Randolph Peterson proposed that the department seek funding for joint student projects with LPPFusion, where students would bring instruments to the FF-1 facility to study the device’s function. The proposed program might involve other Tennessee-region schools. Lerner thought this was a great idea and will help from facilitate such programs with other universities as well.
Lerner’s visit to Chattanooga involved two other events as well. In an earlier seminar with the Physics Department, Lerner described his and other recent work in cosmology—“Evidence that The Universe is Not Expanding”, which led to a lively discussion with students and faculty. As well, Lerner gave a technical briefing on fusion research to a small group of interested specialists, including, Dr. Olin M. Ivey, Energy Fund Account Manager of the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council, Nick Wilkinson, Deputy Administrator for Economic Development of the City of Chattanooga and Michelle Harstine, aide to Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.