The book abounds with fascinating anecdotes about fusion's rocky path: the spurious claim by Argentine dictator Juan Peron in 1951 that his country had built a working fusion reactor, the rush by the United States to drop secrecy and publicize its fusion work as a propaganda offensive after the Russian success with Sputnik; the fortune Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione sank into an unconventional fusion device, the skepticism that met an assertion by two University of Utah chemists in 1989 that they had created "cold fusion" in a bottle. Aimed at a general audience, the book describes the scientific basis of controlled fusion--the fusing of atomic nuclei, under conditions hotter than the sun, to release energy. Using personal recollections of scientists involved, it traces the history of this little-known international race that began during the Cold War in secret laboratories in the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and evolved into an astonishingly open collaboration between East and West.
'The fusion fraternity should read this book and take heart for the future.' Nature 'This book takes the reader beyond this trivial metaphor, explains why achievement has proved harder than anticipated, and shows what progress has been made.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'This is a book that once started demands to be read in one sitting.' Physics World