In 2010, Carl Greninger founded the Northwest Nuclear Consortium, which is a high school club that allows teens to work directly with a nuclear fusor. Since its founding, the group has educated roughly 36 students who collectively have won $600,000 in college scholarships. In 2013, the teens took second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, in the physics category. In our interview we discuss the fusor and its power to excite young people in the pursuit of fusion. We also discuss plans to expand the program to U.S. high schools.
Dr. George Miley is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. He has devoted his career to finding breakthroughs in fusion research. Over the past five decades, he has worked on a wide variety of approaches. Dr. Miley is most proud of his support for more than fifty doctoral candidates while at the University of Illinois. Our interview touches on a diverse set of topics, including: fission pumped lasers, Russian espionage, inertial confinement fusion, field reversed configurations, basic plasma theory and direct conversion. Dr. Miley also was nice enough to share personal stories about other famous fusion researchers. His current research is focused on an inertial electrostatic-based space engine. Dr. Miley got his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Institute of Technology and received his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan in 1959. He met his wife, Liz, at Michigan and they now live in Illinois.
Mr. Sutherland is current CEO and co-founder of the startup CTFusion in Seattle, Washington. He is also a PhD student at the University of Washington, in Dr. Tom Jarboe's lab. The pair are spearheading the development of the dynomak fusion reactor concept. The dynomak evolved from a spheromak but it uses a brand-new method of plasma heating. Our interview walks you through the dynomak approach.
Professor Thomas J. Dolan is author of “Fusion Research” (1982) and editor of “Magnetic Fusion Technology” (Springer, 2013). He served as head of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, Physics Section. Dr. Dolan has worked at universities (Missouri, Illinois); national labs (LLNL, LANL, ORNL, INL); in industry (Phillips Petroleum); and in Canada, Taiwan, Russia, Austria, China, Japan, India, and Korea. His new book is “Molten Salt Reactors and Thorium Energy” (Elsevier Press, 2017). In our interview, we talk about the history of fusion research in America.