Is it possible to build a star on earth?
When asked what problem he hoped scientists will have solved by the end of the century, Professor Stephen Hawking replied 'I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming.' But what is nuclear fusion, and could it really be the answer to the climate emergency? Fusion exists already in the stars that fill our universe with light, but can we harness that power here on earth? This is the question The Star Builders seeks to answer.
In his compelling new book, Dr Arthur Turrell makes the case for cutting-edge new techniques in nuclear energy – innovations that would allow us to recreate the power of the stars on our own planet. Filled with the remarkable stories of the scientists and entrepreneurs who have dedicated their lives to a seemingly impossible dream, The Star Builders is an unmissable insight into the future of life – and space – on our planet.
Dr Arthur Turrell has a PhD in plasma physics from Imperial College London, for which he won the Atomic Weapons Establishment thesis prize. He is Deputy Director for Research and Capability at the ONS Data Science Campus, as well as a visitor to the Bank of England, the plasma physics group at Imperial College London and the Data Analytics for Finance and Macro Research Centre at King's College London.
"A gobsmackingly good read [...] Turrell's portraits of the undaunted star-building scientists who are trying to make fusion a reality are not just compelling but, dare I say it, fun. I learned a lot by reading this book. You will, too."
– Robert Bryce, author of A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
"Visionary thinkers have sketched a future of sustainable abundance based on skillful use of nuclear fusion, the process that powers the stars. Can we get there? How? When? The Star Builders surveys this vibrant frontier of science and technology clearly and realistically. It brings a timely, hopeful message."
– Frank Wilczek, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and author of Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality
"Incredibly readable and entertaining. The book's first-hand accounts of what is occurring inside fusion startups are especially enthralling. Turrell skillfully tells the fascinating story of the personalities, science, and technology that have brought this fledging industry to the point of takeoff."
– Jason Parisi, coauthor of The Future of Fusion Energy
"Painstakingly researched. Turrell gives us a front-row seat to the hard-fought race for fusion, and he offers convincing reasons for optimism. In fact, he shows us a galaxy of effort being directed toward 'building a star.'"
– James Mahaffey, PhD, author of Atomic Adventures
"Arthur Turrell captures the excitement of the race to produce the first commercial fusion energy – perhaps the most important technological race of all."
– Sir Steve Cowley, director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory