Christian Long

Steven Cowley: Fusion is Energy’s Future

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Reflection by JONATHON M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Steven Cowley:  Fusion is Energy’s Future

Steven Cowley is a man of strange, yet mortifying intelligence.  He discusses the way we absorb and discard the world’s resources at a whim.

I believe he has a valid point of finding a new technology as we cant keep harvesting the world the way we do unless we wish to kill the world and the human race with it. He discusses many technologies which will help but the main one he wants to get through to us is fusion, we hear the word fusion tossed around occasionally but never really had any interest to delve deeper into its meaning.

At first thought we think fusion is putting two things together and yes that is essentially what it is but on a far more complex level. We have actually already achieved fusion before but we have not figured out how to harness it for a power source nor generate near enough energy to make it worth the billions of dollars that it will cost, but Steven wishes to enlighten us in the deepest yet most understandable of ways, he brings up simple diagrams that make his explanations seem clear in a haze of scientific terms being thrown around. He Informs us that the world is running out of resources much more quickly than we thought and that we need not use all the fossil fuel because it would kill the environment and hollow out the earth.

So he comes to the conclusion that as fusion as the leading technology along with solar,fission, and wind that we can have a very long lasting power supply that is ultimately much cheaper than other technologies. Steven although starting out a bit nervous on the stage soon gains his feet and submerses us in his world of technological thoughts and hopes for a better future, he discusses how we would have to achieve fusion and it is simply a mind blowing subject and barely comprehensible that it is even possible. he discusses advanced magnetic fields that can hold the fusion which burns at about 150 million degrees to put this into context for the viewer the surface of the sun is 27million degrees farenheit.

All in all the point that got across is similar to what John F. Kennedy said,

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

Although we are no longer in the age of the moon landing, this feat will go down in the history books as one of mans greatest accomplishments.

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