Science on Tap lecture to focus on Nuclear Fusion

Monday, December 1, 2014
by: Rene Abadie

HAMMOND - Southeastern Louisiana University's next Science on Tap seminar, scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 2, will focus nuclear fusion and its potential as a clean energy source.

The informal presentation by Southeastern Dean of the College of Science and Technology Dan McCarthy will be held at 7 p.m. at Tope lá Catering, 113 East Thomas St., in Hammond. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to all ages.

Title of the talk is "Hotter than the Core of the Sun: Fusion Energy on Earth." A specialist in plasma physics, McCarthy has served as a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency in Culham, England.

"The enormous amount of energy produced by the sun is the result of nuclear fusion," McCarthy. "Ever since the first hydrogen bomb was detonated in the '50s, mankind has been aware of the power of nuclear fusion and has been trying to find a way to harness this essentially safe, clean and unlimited energy source for peaceful reasons."

McCarthy explained the problem lies in the fact that to attain fusion, there must be a way to heat a gas to a temperature that exceeds that of the core of the sun and then find a way to hold it in place.

In his talk, McCarthy will discuss how fusion works, how it compares to other energy sources, problems associated with it, and where we are now in its development.

"The good news is that it is likely that fusion from a reactor may be operating within the decade," he said, "and will hopefully be a viable commercial energy source within our lifetimes.

The Science on Tap lecture series is sponsored by the Southeastern Department of Biological Sciences. For more information on future presentations, contact the Department of Biological Sciences at 985-549-3740.

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