AUTHORSeife, Charles
TITLESun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking
CITYNew York, NY

This book, written in a lively tone, chronicles the scientific quest to develop the technology of fusion power from World War II into the 21st century, an endeavor that has engaged and, as the author illustrates, obsessed scientists and governments from many countries over many years. Unlike fission, in which atoms break apart to release energy, fusion requires atoms to bind together, which results in a greater amount of power. The author creates a tale of obsession and frequent failure as he describes the scientific efforts that have been made in the name of fusion power, beginning with Edward Teller’s pursuit of fusion technology to build a superbomb after World War II and including physicist Andrei Sakharov's work, among many others. The book also recounts the scandals, controversies, and consequences that resulted from the experiments. Ultimately, the author implies that the attempt to develop fusion as an energy source has resulted in much wasted time and effort. The book includes diagrams that explain the process of fusion, photos of explosions and some of the scientists involved, and an extensive bibliography.

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