Tuesday, May 12

"Laser Based Nuclear Fusion"

A discussion with

Edward Moses, PhD

Director of the National Ignition Facility
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tuesday May 12, 2009
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

  • KQED Quest produced a segment on the NIF featuring Dr. Moses and past Café speaker Richard Muller (link)
  • “The Next Really Cool Thing” (link)
  • PBS Newshour visits NIF and talks with Dr. Moses (link)

Nuclear fusion has long held the promise of a clean, safe, and plentiful energy source.  The sun produces heat and light from the atomic fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms, produced under extremely high heat and pressure inside the core. 

Scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory just put the finishing touches on a $3 billion football-stadium-sized facility armed with 192 of the world’s highest energy lasers.  Their hope is to focus these giant lasers onto a pea-sized fuel capsule, compressing and heating a small bit of frozen hydrogen inside.  They hope to match the heat and pressure conditions found at the sun’s core, leading to atomic fusion and energy gain for the first time.

Ed Moses, NIF's director, will discuss NIF's technical capabilities, its role in the development of fusion energy, and the exciting new scientific opportunities it presents in astrophysics, material science, and other areas of high energy density science.  Ed will also preview the LIFE (Laser Inertial Fusion-Fission Energy) concept, a hybrid power plant that could provide a sustainable, carbon-free source of energy and has the potential to revolutionize our energy future.

Dr. Moses received his PhD in electrical engineering from Cornell University in 1977.  He has numerous publications and seven patents in laser technology and computational physics.  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Council on Science and Technology.