A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

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Richard Hull
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A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Richard Hull »

Attached is an image that grabbed me as no other in recent memory. It is a great and grand portrait to me. Something that reaches inside me.

This image is about a dream. Philo Farnsworth had a dream. As such, I post this here, within this special forum. Did Farnsworth as a young man go from the dream to the doing based on some revelation like that seen in the face of the intent young man seen below? That first excitement of an idea can be lost in the rush and trials of life about us. Sometimes it is not lost but acted on by a few driven individuals. Driven individuals can be crushed in their effort to take the idea forward for any number of reasons in the real world around them. Some tiny fraction will hang on with unbridled tenacity until the idea and its dream are made real. Farnsworth did it with television. It is amazing to me that he did this in a full electronic embodiment as rapidly as he did without significant backing. Here is where television failed to be fully on sale by 1935. No backing by a major entity coupled with the expense at that time of the receiver and a global economic depression kept a functional system from being developed.

From the moment I saw this and captured this image off of the "Great Big Story" video filmed at one of our recent HEAS events, I was touched deeply. The image is of two people, one old and one young staring at perhaps a fusion star.... On the left, our founder, Paul Schatzkin.... On the right one of a number of young men we often see at HEAS over the years. (his name escapes me)

The key thing for me is, of course, my interpretation of what I see in the portrait. It is always that which is in the eye of the beholder.

I see an old man who founded an entity to foster the search for fusion energy in the future, hopefully, within his lifetime. A man who is wise due to his years, full of past hopes and dreams both achieved and dashed. Possessor of a special wisdom. A calm wisdom. His face expresses this as he realizes perhaps this dream, this ball of contained and controlled plasma, may never produce energy within his life time. He has seen it before not only in reality presented now before him, but now, perhaps representing a fading dream.

Beside the old man, I also see a young man, keen, vibrant, amazed at what he sees in a reality before him. A floating ghostly apparition of contained charged matter. What must he think?....His mind racing with possibilities that only youthful excitement dare ponder. A moment frozen in time for him? A moment that will change him? A moment that will direct him? Possibly...... So many possibilities lay ahead.

Did Farnsworth have the moment that appears on this young man's face?


Please, click don the image to enlarge. Stare at it for a moment....What do you see?

P.S. here is the video for those who never saw it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5wntLZCcYA&t=27s

Richard Hull
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Image captured from internet video found on the "the Great Big Story" taken and presented at one of the HEAS conferences recently.
Image captured from internet video found on the "the Great Big Story" taken and presented at one of the HEAS conferences recently.
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
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Dennis P Brown
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Re: A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Dennis P Brown »

That is a fantastically well made documentary! Of course, who is the star in it? Richard or the 'star in a bottle''? ;)

Ok, trick question - Richard has been leading the efforts here on this forum to keep fusor's alive and progressing for some time now and is the very reason that film was made in the first place.

Science is our best hope forward; particularly for coming to grips with the massive problems that have challenged humankind - energy, pollution, climate, food production and dealing with continued reduction of available resources as population increases; these are issues that, in the past, have been successfully addressed by scientist and engineers thus enabling people to overcome these extreme problems and make a far better world. Yet these challenges continue to grow requiring that more and better prepared people enter into STEM fields to provide the diversity and inventiveness needed to continue to discover the solutions required to overcome these growing problems that threaten our progress in making a better world.

Energy has been and always will be at the heart of all major technological and life enhancing efforts; yet paradoxically, is one of the contributors to our problems. Efforts by people in many places, from schools to forums like this, have encouraged the next generation of people to become the future members in these efforts to improve both science and our world.

This forum may only be a small contributor to achieving these loftily goals but it is certainly not the least - just as in the picture at HEAS of an older generation looking at a true marvel of science - fusion power under control - another younger, now better prepared generation, is developing the essential interest and curiosity needed to carry on and advance these essential efforts in science.
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Richard Hull
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Re: A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Richard Hull »

I am not a star! For even at almost 50 years of age in1997, when I beheld the glowing plasma in that Teslathon demo fusor, put together by Tom Ligon, I was that kid!

Sure, I had seen many plasmas before in various tubes, but it was a distributed plasma. I had never seen a captured knot of plasma. A star in a jar.

Like the young man in the image, I was transfixed with possibilities. So much was I affected, that I would immediately make my own demo fusor and leave Tesla coil work that I had committed myself to over the past 10 years of my life, (1987-1997). I would become involved in doing fusion by my own hand. Here I am 25 years later, a quarter of a century, with one third of my life devoted to amateur fusion and its moving forward into the amateur science community.

Sometimes it doesn't take much to reroute a life. To inspire even late in life. Oh, I never had any dream, no matter how remote, of being part of the fusion energy solution. I was already wise in this arena as I was already well-studied in the physics of fusion as it was being done in 1997. That concept was DOA for me.

As I delved deeply into the Farnsworth fusor, plasma physics and all of the engineering and plethora of other disciplines involved in actually doing fusion
in this wonderous device, I became convinced nothing really stood in my way and that I possessed the skills necessary to see it through. Sure, I would have to learn even more skills and read a lot to supplement and refine what I already knew and was capable of in the use of the hands-on imperative.

For me it was the thrill of doing fusion and attaining a long held dream of getting those sacred neutrons for experiment, so long denied me in my quest for nuclear knowledge secured only by the doing.

I would do fusion with no help and no real guidance in every facet of the adventure. As I actually did fusion in early 1999, the internet venue of the songs, intranet and finally fusor.net would blossom.


Today, many others have surpassed my effort at every turn and this total effort is a wonderment that Paul and myself began and supported. To me, that is more than worth every moment and dollar spent over the last quarter century.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
Frank Sanns
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Re: A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Frank Sanns »

Richard Hull, the Pied Piper of fusion! Indeed! Thanks Richard.

You always do a great job on these interviews. You are a good teacher and you know your stuff! Good combo.

I went to the site to watch the video again. Many familiar faces and I am in there sitting pensively in the group. Always a good time.

The comments on the videos are interesting. Many people admire what you and the Fusor group have done. Most are either somewhat into science or not at all. They have the best comments.

What I find interesting were some of the "expert" comments. The one with the highest number of thumbs up was Mundy. He says we do not have a Q greater than one so we have done nothing. But other efforts like ITER and the like have. We have had that discussion here and NONE of us have had a Q greater than 1 in any lab with any amount of funding once all things are calculated in.

Then there is the Smith person that says he is the youngest to ever do fusion and he did it before you in 2009. Again phooey. I can't believe what comes out of people's mouths (or fingers).

Strange time in the world. Of course since I finished reading everything on the internet, I must move on to something else. This last sentence is satire for those that do not know me.
Achiever's madness; when enough is still not enough. ---FS
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Richard Hull
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Re: A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Richard Hull »

I went and looked at the comments. Something I never do.

I saw Mundy's comment about it not being a reactor. I also scrolled and noted a lot of folks echoed Mundy's comments saying the fusor is not a fusion reactor.

For the first time I commented at the end after the last comment number 30456.

I noted that a reactor in chemistry and in nuclear parlance is a vessel in which a desired, and planned reaction takes place. The fusor is a vessel in which the proper conditions are met to make a fusion reaction take place, therefore, it is a fusion reactor.

I mentioned that it is a pity that the commenters feel that in the nuclear world a reactor must be a giant edifice that produces net power. There is no such a thing by that definition yet to be made on this planet that is a fusion reactor. It looks more like there will never be one, either.

I left them with the old saw....Fusion is the energy of the future and it always will be...

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
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Mark Rowley
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Re: A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Mark Rowley »

The vitriol and ineptitude within the video's comment section is running on high octane. Little to nothing can be accomplished by interacting with militant lunacy. Best to ignore and continue with what we do, fusion!

Mark Rowley
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Richard Hull
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Re: A portrait of great depth - Capturing a moment

Post by Richard Hull »

As I noted, I never read the comments for many videos as they are usually made by uninformed stuff that passes for the common man.
Frank's post forced me to suffer myself to poke about a bit.... A fools errand for sure, it turns out. Much as I expected.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
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