Timeline of Nuclear History

“See the thing as it is, not as you might want it to be.” 
   — David Bohm, among the earliest to envision power from fusion, in “Creativity” 

Development of nuclear science is inextricable from generating and handling energetic charged particles. The tool for the discovery of the nucleus was a beam of helium nuclei, then known as “alpha particles”, because they were the first “particle” to be given a name. Discovery of the nucleus demanded and got theoretical pictures of the atom, driving the development of quantum mechanics. The contemporaneous theory of relativity famously shook philosophical concepts, while quantum mechanics spawned technologies that did and continue to dramatically change the world.

One of the first man-made accelerators enabled observation of the fusion of the nuclei of light atoms—before the realization that fusion is the energy source of the stars, at the same time (1932) that fission of the nucleus was observed.

It may have been unavoidable that the background for the exhilaration of these momentous developments was a world in tumult. The path of nuclear science, and technologies such as RF power for communications and accelerators, led to important involvement in World War II. The world truly awoke to nuclear energy with the explosion of The Bomb. That we still permit these ultimately threatening weapons to exist underlines the urgency of taking nuclear energy to the stage where we enjoy its enormous benefits and deny its dark side. Fusion that precludes production of bomb materials is the only physical answer. A canon of FPC’s design is to prove this crucial goal is achievable.
Subpages (1): The Livingston Curve