Majoring in IEC Fusion

Discuss life, the universe, and everything with other members of this site. Get to know your fellow polywell enthusiasts.

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Brent
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Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:25 pm

Majoring in IEC Fusion

Post by Brent »

Here is a general question for the group.

I am very interested in pursuing further study to prepare myself for study of IEC Fusion.
I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineeering, and I am working towards a M.S. in Chemical Engineering with a focus on Polymer Processing, which should be complete in a year or so. Using the knowledge obtained from these degrees, I can obtain some insight on equilibrium statistical physics, hydrodynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, process control, electric circuits, process design, and economics. However, I am lacking in the areas of plasma physics advanced mathematical methods, advanced quantum mechanics, and possibly other areas. Therefore, it may be necessary to pursue further study at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, or another institution with similar credibility. Completing any fusion work would likely entail pursuing a doctorate. Would this be as wise decision in terms of time commitment?

drmike
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Post by drmike »

I would say no, at least not at the present time. Your background in ChemE is much more marketable than anything in plasma physics. If you want to do advanced research, go for a PhD in Chemistry along the lines of your present background. If fusion takes off, you'll have plenty of opportunity to apply for jobs that appear.

There is a combination of Chem and Plasma though, and that is in the field of IC fabrication. Plasma etch uses chemical activation to remove material in a very precise way. But it doesn't have much to do with polymers.

If you want to live a very good life, stick with the masters and get a job that is not research. You can do applied research - where learning how to do things for a factory is important. You will get paid a lot more than a PhD because experience counts more.

Lots to think about, but most important is what really makes you happy. From a purely logical perspective, changing directions now would be a bad idea - especially since nobody knows if fusion will work or not yet. But you gotta follow your heart too.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

There is a combination of Chem and Plasma though, and that is in the field of IC fabrication. Plasma etch uses chemical activation to remove material in a very precise way. But it doesn't have much to do with polymers.
The design of resists.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Brent
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Post by Brent »

Dr. Mike, thank you for your response. Plasma etch has crossed my mind, and so have solar arrays and fuel cells which both can use polymers. However, for reasons that will be apparent below, these do not appeal greatly to me. I am a bit concerned by this, because I am going against such well-constructed logic. I could even be setting myself up for failure.

The Polywell(TM) concept is definitely a heart thing for me. Does the average person buy a book called Statistical Physics II: Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics by Kubo et. al and find it ridiculously cool, maybe even sexy?

The strange thing is, even though I am majoring in chemical engineering, and I find most of the science in the area interesting, I do not find it fascinating. I have been to career fairs, interviewed for jobs, and talked to professors, and still my mind has not changed. Many days I am in a state of despair, as if I could care less about any employment opportunities that the polymer industry might offer. It seems like a waste yes, but it seems important to finish my degree. From a logical perspective, it seems like the most risk adverse thing to do. What if I drop the chemical engineering degree, and just go and pursue nuclear engineering or engineering physics? I do not know with certainty that I will make it.

The thing that drives me is alternative energy sources. I feel that energy has the most relevance in modern society today, because everything else hinges upon its existence. Ignoring energy would be like running an electric motor in a room being flooded by a garden hose without any effort to turn off the water. Even if the electric motor was running a machine that was allowing for a large flow of revenue, it seems to be more important to turn off the water.

It seems that for most of the time I have been rummaging in the dark about career goals, as if I were a marble coalescing down an inclined plane covered with pegs. Sure, when I was in my late teens I was more willing to accept abstract goals that would border on the line of being economically infeasible. In addition, at an even younger age, these goals were ever more abstract. But as I became more educated as I neared the completion of undergraduate school, I became even less satisfied with what I was doing because what I knew I would be doing with what I had became ever more concrete.

Then one day I discovered Polywell, thanks to a quirky net search about anti-gravity, which led to americanantigravity.com. I was a little skeptical about the site, but one day I came back and discovered mention of Robert W. Bussard. And then everything changed it seemed. Science went from shades of grey to something much more interesting, much more passionate. This man was a dreamer, and I liked it. He had discovered the one thing that could serve as our base-load power supply. However, I must admit I did not think of his discovery in such concrete terms at the time. Bussard was not a wild man, spreading junk science wherever he went. This man was assistant director of the Atomic Energy Commission. In addition, the director of the Atomic Energy Commission at the time was Robert L. Hirsch. When finding that both Hirsch and Bussard were so supportive of IEC I found there was something seriously wrong, or maybe seriously right. How else could the behavior of such brilliant men be explained besides a very clear promise in IEC?

I am so thankful for a site such as talk-polywell.org. It is filled with the most curious people. They are dreamers, but also very focused and intelligent. I feel like I am standing next to Albert Einstien or Max Planck every time I enter here. I know that this is going to go somewhere. It is nothing logical, but it is more something felt, as I cannot even begin to describe everything that goes on with Polywell. And I might add, the amazing thing about Polywell is its development involves nearly every discipline.

So rather foolishly, I want to see Polywell work, even if it means making peanuts. I am all too eager about getting into the brains of the Polywell(TM) reactor. To me yes, pictures on EMC2 are a version of porn. Moreover, to be a part of it, that would be wonderful.

Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

> I do not find it fascinating

Life has taught me one important lesson, whatever it is, do what fascinates you, life is too short to spend it doing something you really don't enjoy that much.

I spent years trying/getting to get qualifcations when I should have spent time programming instead, but I listened to everyone telling me to do things the sensible route and get a degree. (My girlfriend went to all the effort and its not really been of any use to her in todays employment climate!)

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Nanos wrote:> I do not find it fascinating

Life has taught me one important lesson, whatever it is, do what fascinates you, life is too short to spend it doing something you really don't enjoy that much.

I spent years trying/getting to get qualifcations when I should have spent time programming instead, but I listened to everyone telling me to do things the sensible route and get a degree. (My girlfriend went to all the effort and its not really been of any use to her in todays employment climate!)
I followed what I loved sans degree and it has worked out well for me.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Roger
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Post by Roger »

Brent,

Sounds like you want to ride that horse long and hard, and you may be at the nexus, that perfect point in your life where you can do it.

Sometimes second chances are very rare. Dont leave anything on the table, no regrets... if you dont give it your all, you may live to regret it.


Go over to Dr Kulcinski and tell him you want to build a polywell dodec for your degree...


LOL...
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

drmike
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Post by drmike »

Brent, I am very much like you, but 25 to 30 years older. I witnessed the oil embargo of 1973, and pushed my car to help save gas. It is more than frustrating that nothing has been done to reduce use of gasoline as a transport energy source. Fusion was the "great thing" that was the future of energy, and even fission looked like it was going to stay a while.

I focused hard and got a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering - my undergrad degree was engineering physics. I did some work as a nuke - it was building particle beam weapons for Ronnie Regan's "Star Wars" program. But other than that, I've had to feed myself and my family on my hobby which is electrical engineering.

My heart is definitely in fusion. It certainly has not hurt me to have a very broad background in physics with practical engineering experience. But the only fusion reactor I'll build will be in my basement in my spare time.

I agree with Simon that you should do what you like. If that means changing majors, then now is a good time to do it. You have proven you can work hard - you got into grad school. Go talk to the Engineering Physics and Nuclear Engineering profs on your campus. Chances are good they will love to steal you away :)

gblaze42
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Post by gblaze42 »

Brent,

Why not do work in nanotechnology? There's an exciting up and coming field! The perfect area for a Chemistry Engineer.
Last edited by gblaze42 on Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JohnSmith
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Post by JohnSmith »

I'm only a second-year Electrical Eng student, but from everything I've seen, nobody cares about your degree once you've got it. If I was you, I think I'd keep the fusion work as a hobby, and keep my eyes open for a job in the field.
That's my plan at the moment, anyway.

Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

Nano fusion maybe..

Go smaller whilst everyone else goes bigger!

esotERIC D
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Post by esotERIC D »

Inspiration
Read it, its all the inspiration I've ever needed.

I have just started (like today) my college education for mechanical engineering at Clarkson University...

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Completing any fusion work would likely entail pursuing a doctorate. Would this be as wise decision in terms of time commitment?
Depends on whether you like it, what your time is worth, and whether Polywell pans out.

If Polywell works out the way we hope, you'll be well-positioned for a ten trillion dollar boom industry. This thing could make the Internet craze seem like small potatoes by comparison.

Of course, IEC fusion may not pan out into anything. Maybe it's just not feasible for reasons we don't yet know.

If you like physics and money's no issue, I'd say go for it once your current degree is done. Having a degree in another field can be helpful. I finished an acocunting degree even though I didn't much like it and wouldn't pursue it as a career (even passed the CPA exam), and I've never regretted it (it's certainly never hurt my earnings).

Myself, I'm fairly young at 33, and could be diving back into another Master's degree or a PhD, but I doubt I will. I like IT better than physics and I make six figures doing it, which is important for a kid who paid his way through school with $7/hr jobs. The extent of my Polywell eduational commitment (beyond understanding the basic theory) was to learn some FORTH, and it's still an outside shot I'd ever do any actual work.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

Brent
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Post by Brent »

Sorry so late. Thanks for your comments. It is a lot of consider. With everything, there is consequence, but with everything, there is also an opportunity.

I am a firm believer in this:

"Somebody will build it; and when it's built, it will work; and when it works people will begin to use it, and it will begin to displace all other forms of energy", Robert W. Bussard.

And this: Life is short, party while you can.

Interpreting the term "party" is an act of reason, which is the consideration.

The worst thing that could happen is life in a van down by the river.

Brent
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Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:25 pm

Post by Brent »

We do have some nanotechnology people. Some work with nano-tubes to make things super strong, like super strong fibers to to allow for the building of things like space elevators. Others prefer nano-particles for things such as drug delivery. Still others engineer catalysts. And finally quantum dots, which allow for various color emissions. That's all I can think of at the moment.

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