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(Casper Star-Tribune)   Things for teens to do in a small, middle of nowhere town: Going to keggers, tipping cows, building nuclear fusion reactors in the shed. Wait, what?   (trib.com) divider line 24
    More: Cool, nuclear fusion reactors, nuclear reactors, World Geodetic System, science fairs, nuclear fusions, sheds, cattle, teens  
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5270 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Feb 2013 at 12:45 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-04 01:15:51 PM  
3 votes:

Hack Patooey: 600 million degrees?

/skeptical


Heat and temperature are two different properties. Temperature is related to the velocity of the particles in the plasma. To get fusion to happen, you have to get particles moving fast enough to collide before electrostatic repulsion pushes them apart. The density of the plasma is very low, so heat capacity of this system is likewise going to be very low.
2013-02-04 01:21:18 PM  
2 votes:
Very nice, especially considering how his father treats him.  FTA:


His dad tells him not to forget his roots. Tom Farnsworth made his money in oil. That money bought the shed where Conrad built his reactor and paid for the tools he used to make its parts.

"All I tell him is that if he invents something that does away with fossil fuels, it will be on him to take care of his mom and I," Tom Farnsworth said.

 Yeah son, don't bother saving the world with clean, renewable energy if it does away with the almighty fossil fuels!
2013-02-04 01:07:30 PM  
2 votes:
"Amateur fusion" ... Wow

It makes me proud, as an American, that we have people with such amazing talent and drive and ability to create such things. And that I live far away from the blast radius.
2013-02-04 01:02:38 PM  
2 votes:
2013-02-04 01:02:03 PM  
2 votes:

Slaves2Darkness: Get that kid a scholarship outside of Wyoming STAT!


FTFY
2013-02-05 02:53:40 AM  
1 votes:
Conrad is the first person in Wyoming, and one of about 60 in the world, to achieve nuclear fusion. Only about 15 of those are in high school

So, only 1/4 of all people who have accheived fusion are in high school.

Got it.
2013-02-04 10:45:59 PM  
1 votes:

Crewmannumber6: Rockstone: JasonOfOrillia: Crewmannumber6: Where the hell did you get the atomic bomb!
[i7.photobucket.com image 440x346]

I got a C in physics last semester. Think what the students getting A's and B's could do.

The AP Physics B exam is evil....

He didn't get the reference


That's fine.  It was pretty obscure.  I originally tried to track down the quote where the student describes how he extracted the fissile material from day-glo watches but this one was better.
2013-02-04 10:01:58 PM  
1 votes:
I'm suprised that the place I was born and raised was mentioned on Fark.com.  I'm doubly suprised it wasn't for something like the biggest meth bust in a decade, or the refinery in the middle of town dropping another toxic cloud on the school that's not even 1/4 a mile away.  It's a lovely place.
2013-02-04 09:09:37 PM  
1 votes:

rwfan: czetie:

So am I the only one that thought the father was making a modestly funny joke at his own expense?

no.


Yeah me too.
2013-02-04 09:00:17 PM  
1 votes:
czetie:

So am I the only one that thought the father was making a modestly funny joke at his own expense?

no.
2013-02-04 08:46:15 PM  
1 votes:

GreatGlavinsGhost: Frozboz: Very nice, especially considering how his father treats him.  FTA:


His dad tells him not to forget his roots. Tom Farnsworth made his money in oil. That money bought the shed where Conrad built his reactor and paid for the tools he used to make its parts.

"All I tell him is that if he invents something that does away with fossil fuels, it will be on him to take care of his mom and I," Tom Farnsworth said.
 Yeah son, don't bother saving the world with clean, renewable energy if it does away with the almighty fossil fuels!

That's what I thought too.  Dad doesn't seem to be completely supportive of his son's full potential.  The kid is only allowed to go *so* far with all his science stuff.  You know, as long as he doesn't make his dad look bad.

Sheesh.


So am I the only one that thought the father was making a modestly funny joke at his own expense?
2013-02-04 06:23:05 PM  
1 votes:

Hack Patooey: 600 million degrees?


Low pressure plasmas can have very high temperatures with very little plasma to conduct that heat to other things.  High pressure plasmas tend to vaporize everything they touch.  This leads to amusing slide shows for the next "My Favorite Laboratory Disasters" panel at your local science fiction convention.
2013-02-04 05:59:04 PM  
1 votes:

Frozboz: Very nice, especially considering how his father treats him.  FTA:


His dad tells him not to forget his roots. Tom Farnsworth made his money in oil. That money bought the shed where Conrad built his reactor and paid for the tools he used to make its parts.

"All I tell him is that if he invents something that does away with fossil fuels, it will be on him to take care of his mom and I," Tom Farnsworth said.
 Yeah son, don't bother saving the world with clean, renewable energy if it does away with the almighty fossil fuels!


I think its more of a joke.  Son you are creating something that is going to put me out of a job!
2013-02-04 02:54:47 PM  
1 votes:

machoprogrammer: So he made something by himself that scientists cannot?


No.  Just making fusion happen is not a problem.  Making fusion that produces more energy that it consumes (without leaving a miles-wide crater) is the problem.  He has not done that part - what he built could not power anything.
2013-02-04 02:52:15 PM  
1 votes:
I am not liking any of the above analogies that "explain" the hundreds of millions of degree temperatures of the plasma of a fusor.  First of all temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of some substance.  So you can simply convert kinetic energy into temperature and back (ignoring statistical arguments about how much of something is required to talk about it's temperature).  An electron volt (eV) is the amount of kinetic energy given to an electron or a proton accelerated over one volt.  It's fairly easy produce kilovolt (that is typical CRT voltages) and above fields and thus keV plasma energies which as the plot below (which shows fusion reaction rates versus plasma temperature) indicates is the threshold energy you need to get to to produce fusion.  As indicated by the lower scale keV are in the 10's of millions of degrees Kelvin range.  Assuming the article is talking Fahrenheit you are easily in the hundreds of millions if not billions of degrees Fahrenheit.  So to me the key thing to realize is that it is really not that hard to produce a kilovolt field or the plasma that's going to be accelerated by the field (the hard part is producing the vacuum).
upload.wikimedia.org
2013-02-04 02:41:50 PM  
1 votes:
It's been done.
spacebison.com
2013-02-04 01:48:27 PM  
1 votes:

Karac: Hack Patooey: zipdog: Hack Patooey: 600 million degrees?

/skeptical

Heat and temperature are two different properties. Temperature is related to the velocity of the particles in the plasma. To get fusion to happen, you have to get particles moving fast enough to collide before electrostatic repulsion pushes them apart. The density of the plasma is very low, so heat capacity of this system is likewise going to be very low.

Thanks, that explains it.

/wait, no it doesnt
//off to Google

It's 600 million degrees, but only in a very small area; small as in atomic-scale small.  So if you took all that heat energy and spread it over a larger area, say an electric stovetop coil, you wouldn't even notice it.

Here's an analogy - take a paperclip, straighten it out.  Hold it by each end and start bending back and forth, back and forth.   After a minute or so you can still hold onto the ends no problem, but if you touch the middle, you'll burn yourself.


Or more straightforward: Turn your oven on and let it heat up to 250 degrees, then boil a pot of water. Next, put one hand in the oven and the other hand in the boiling water.

You'll discover that the higher density but slightly lower tenperature water burns your hand more than the higher temperature yet lower density air in the oven.
2013-02-04 01:09:55 PM  
1 votes:

rwfan: Interesting last name yet no mention of it in the article.  Or did I miss it?


"He stumbled onto the idea in seventh grade. Fusion sounded fascinating, and the father of fusion, Philo T. Farnsworth, shared his last name."
2013-02-04 01:07:21 PM  
1 votes:
Cow tipping is a myth.
2013-02-04 01:05:14 PM  
1 votes:
Interesting last name yet no mention of it in the article.  Or did I miss it?

FTFA: Conrad is the first person in Wyoming, and one of about 60 in the world, to achieve nuclear fusion.

LOL.
2013-02-04 01:03:19 PM  
1 votes:

rufus-t-firefly: Huh. It's not a repeat.

http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radscout.html


Note: that one was fun with fission.
2013-02-04 01:00:24 PM  
1 votes:
Farnsworth!
upload.wikimedia.org
2013-02-04 12:53:42 PM  
1 votes:
Get that kid a scholarship STAT!
2013-02-04 12:21:35 PM  
1 votes:
I hope they don't have a HOA.
 
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