AN EXPERIMENT TO SAVE THE WORLD
In March 2002, the scientific world was rocked by some astonishing news: a distinguished US government scientist claimed he had made nuclear fusion out of sound waves in his laboratory.
Rusi Taleyarkhan's breakthrough was such important news because nuclear fusion is one of the most difficult scientific processes, and also one of the most coveted. It could solve all of our energy problems for ever. In principle, sufficient fuel exists on earth to provide clean, pollution-free energy for billions of people for millions of years.
The power of nuclear fusion is the force at the heart of the Sun. If it can be harnessed, it could herald a world of endless, cheap energy. For 40 years scientists have toiled to find this Holy Grail. American scientist Rusi Taleyarkahn has controversially claimed to have found a new way to make nuclear fusion in the lab - using sound waves. In an exclusive experiment, this programme attempts to prove his doubters wrong. What would the world be like if fusion is eventually achieved?
Fusion is what has kept the sun burning for billions of years. It involves combining two atomic nuclei, usually heavy forms of hydrogen known as â??deuteriumâ??. During the reaction, huge amounts of energy are released, but without the radioactive by-products of conventional nuclear reactors. If this could be achieved on Earth, it would transform our world. Overnight, there would be no need for fossil fuels, no more global warming, no reliance on oil. Instead there would be an almost limitless source of clean, green power.
For 40 years, scientists have pursued this â??Holy Grailâ??, at a cost of billions of
pounds and many shattered reputations. Most famously, in 1988, Fleichmann and Pons stunned the world by announcing that they had achieved nuclear fusion in a lab with just a few Â£s worth of equipment. They called it â??cold fusionâ??. For one tantalising moment, it seemed that the answer had been found. But the dream turned out to be a mirage. â??Cold fusionâ?? was branded the scientific blunder of the century. Fleischmann and Pons were discredited.
Then last year, American scientist Rusi Taleyarkahn, then of Oak Ridge National Laboratories, claimed to have found a new way to make nuclear fusion in a laboratory â?? using sound waves. His work was published in that most prestigious journal, Science. However, almost immediately the doubters began sniping. They said it simply could not be true. Taleyarkahn remains adamant. The only way to find out if he is right is to try to replicate his results. And so, in a groundbreaking piece of television, Horizon has commissioned Professor Seth Putterman of UCLA to put Taleyarkahnâ??s work to the test. If this exclusive experiment reproduces Taleyarkahnâ??s results, a Nobel Prize beckons. If not, then it is back to square oneâ?¦
As well as revealing the results, this film combines excitement, tension and a
stunning CGI vision of what the world will be like if fusion is eventually achieved.
File Size: 434 MB
Video Length: 00:48:53
Video Resolution: 704x384
VIdeo Bitrate: 1212 kbit/s
Audio Bitrate: 128 kbit/s
Audio Codec: MPEG Layer -3
(Please seed so others can enjoy)
Note: External English subtitles included.