OF INTEREST: Monster Machines: What the future of nuclear fusion research looked like in 1962

​At the onset of the atomic age, governments on both sides of the iron curtain sought to harness the power of nuclear fusion. Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey stood at the forefront of the American effort when, in 1953, they began using Stellarators — one of the earliest controlled fusion systems.

Early fusion research in the western world nearly immediately split into two halves after the end of WWII, with one subset of researchers observing super-compressed fusion materials at very short timescales, the others — including Dr. Lyman Spitzer, chair of the Department of Astronomy at Princeton University — observing these materials at a lower compression for longer times. Spitzer’s invention served this purpose wonderfully. The Stellarator that Spitzer invented in 1950 is designed to hold superheated, electrically-charged plasma — a most vital and basic component of nuclear fusion research — within a designated field using electromagnetic currents.

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