Monday, November 27, 2006

Google going Nuclear?

There are fifty crackpot ideas born every second. Working in a University physics department you see a lot of them, earnest treaties on the evolution of the Universe, carefully typed up on an old manual typewriter and photocopied to within an inch of its life, lacking in scientific method and bearing only a tenuous grip on reality. Junk science at best, and Pseudo-science at worst.

So when I saw the Slashdot headline asking last week, "Should Google go Nuclear?" I must admit I cringed, but it turned out to be a serious piece. When someone of Robert Bussard's reputation and record of achievement talks you should sit down and listen, and yes, we are talking about the inventor of the Bussard Ramjet here...

Should Google Go Nuclear?

Earlier this year Bussard claimed that his company had developed an inertial electrostatic confinement fusion process that is 100,000 times more efficient than previous designs. However, the company's funding has run out, and Bussard is looking for more money to continue development, and it looks like he's casting his net fairly wide.

Bussard's talk to the assembled great and the good at Google is an interesting clash of cultures, for one thing I doubt any of these guys sitting in the audience have seen a talk using acetate overheads in since college. However for the physicists in the audience I'd recommend sitting down and watching the whole hour and a half of video, although you might want to skip ahead past the definitions of fission and fusion, it makes interesting viewing.