Life & Faith

Life & Faith: Going Nuclear

September 29, 2016

Nuclear fusion energy has been heralded asthe answer to the global energy crisis, a virtually endless – and cleaner –source of power that will last several generations.

If there’s anyone who should be singing itspraises the loudest, it’s Professor Ian Hutchinson from MIT, a leader in thisfield. While he’s certainly enthusiastic about the science and technologybehind fusion power, he’s quick to downplay the hype. 

“There is no magic bullet for energyresources for human kind, he says, “so I don’t want to promote fusion as aninstant solution to energy problems that exist.”

There’s still a lot of work to be done, hesays, namely, finding a stable environment on our planet at 100 million degreesCelsius for nuclear fusion to happen – and he’s right in the thick of it havingbuilt such an environment.

“It has the strongest magnetic field of anyexperiment and, I have to admit, starting up that experiment … was very much ahighlight of my scientific career.”

But as powerful as he knows science to be,as much as he finds it intellectually engaging and satisfying, ProfessorHutchinson also believes that science does not hold all the answers.

“Science works by being able to dorepeatable observations or experiments … and we’re find out about the ways in whichthe world behaves reproducibly,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean that that’sthe only thing to find out about the world.”

In this episode of Life & Faith,Professor Ian Hutchinson talks about the latest developments in nuclear energy,and the fusion of faith and science in his work and life.

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