Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

April 20, 2022

On February 19, LLNL’s Science on Saturday series on "Energy and the Environment" presented “Bringing Star Power to Earth: Harnessing Nuclear Fusion,” with Lab scientists Derek Mariscal and Dave Schlossberg with Granada High School teacher Tom Shefler.

Abstract: By the time the current generation of high school students reaches age 50, the world’s energy consumption is predicted to increase by 47 percent. Along with exponential growth of population centers, this creates an urgent demand for energy-dense sources; one such source is nuclear fusion, the process that powers stars. This is a mission of NIF, where burning and near-ignition plasmas were recently achieved for the first time on Earth.

NIF is the world’s largest and most energetic laser system and was built to create extreme states of matter—similar to those found in stellar and planetary interiors. Here scientists, engineers, and technicians work on the grand challenge of recreating the engines of stars on earth by harnessing fusion. Successful demonstrations on NIF are laying the foundation for a future generation of clean, near-limitless energy using inertial confinement fusion. This presentation will overview the fusion science conducted at NIF; including experiments, simulations, and the application of machine learning to better understand the physics of these highly complex physical phenomena.

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