The Public Plea
In the survey, we collected fifteen quotes from people that reflected their take on the technology, these are included below:
1. “…Biggest advantage? No oil…” –cgray45
2. “…and ostracizing those who don't agree, pretending they know--they KNOW--when in fact, they just accepted what they were told, by others who accepted what they were told, and so on, and so on, and so on… Let’s face it, sometimes its best to say "I don't know…" – GIThruster
3. “…I think that with unlimited cheap energy, everything is possible...” – Skipjack
4. “…but I don't see fusion causing identifiable problems. It will cause unforeseeable problems…” – CharlesKramer
5. “…research enabling the quick application of such systems in space is important to overall fusion research and development…” – Zapkitty
6. “…A Polywell, like a gas turbine or diesel engine, will probably have a throttle that allows for a range of power outputs to meet demand. It could be idled, and with direct conversion, be throttled up…” – Dan Tibbets
7. “…You nonchalantly declare that interstellar travel will be easy because we'll have free energy soon. That is just total madness….” – ChrisMB
8. “…Monitors and televisions, too, would now only be limited by size and less by how much power they consume. Productivity all over the board could rise drastically…” – bennmann
9. “…I would love to see the destruction of the terrain of West Virginia stop or at least slow down to a crawl. All for the mining of coal...” – rjaypeters
10. “…We need to stop taking anything out of the ground that we can avoid, and we need to do it now…” – ChrisMB
11. “…With sufficient energy, there are no pollutants, only resources ... With sufficient energy, there are no pollutants except energy…” – KitemanSA
12. “…The critical point that we are at is not whether cheap electricity from fusion may compensate for disappearing fossil fuels, but whether humanity will learn to understand its true impact on others as it produces and consumes all that energy...” – ltgbrown
13. “…I think this ties into another implication for the social environment. I think that, in general, people don't trust technology, and view it as a force for evil in the world…” – MirariNefas
14. “…What if Polywell, or Focus Fusion, or some other source of "clean" and cheap energy is discovered? Are we "ready" for it? … By cheap, I mean so inexpensive, that people can begin to discount the cost of energy in doing any and everything.… By clean I mean it is essentially nonhazardous material producing, no radiation … and no CO2… Would having such a "cheap and clean" source of energy reduce war or increase it? …will cheap and clean energy be a catalyst to achieving peace?... While technically speaking, we cannot destroy the environment …we sure as hell can make it not as nice…” – ltgbrown
15. “….even if electricity becomes much more cheap and much more safe and universal … other resource constraints will still necessitate a change in how we live…” – CharlesKramer
In his RSA talk, Michael Lima, explains how a network of people can collaborate to get things done. The Polywell needs to do this. This community is growing and we need to connect it better. Why? We will stop duplicating our work. For example, William Flint – over at http://polywellnuclearfusion.com/ - has written an aggressive argument for the polywell. Bills website is impressive. His enthusiasm for this project is contagious. Bill is a baby boomer who had a career as a high school physics teacher. His twitter account lists him as an advocate for the polywell since 2007. Since 2007, Bill has generated power point presentations, built a website, and written several e-books on the Polywell, including:
1. “Safe, Green, Clean - the p-B Polywell: A Different Kind of Nuclear Energy” – Copyright 2008 – This book is 293 pages long!
We agree the polywell is important. However, it is not proven. We can only be convinced by verifiable and repeatable evidence.
The Latest News:
One week ago, the 14th US-Japan workshop on IECF was held at the University of Maryland. This conference gave us a glimpse into the latest Polywell research. Based on his presentation, Dr. Khachans’ group has built two Polywells since their experimental paper  was published. Below is a picture of the first device .
The first device has an aluminum  shell, which appears to be ~4.5” by ~4.5” by ~4.5”in size. This is not much different in size to the Teflon device they used in research before . Just observing, this machine appears to have wire ties holding it together – this would create problems for electron recirculation. The second device is more impressive. This is pictured below .
It is a smooth device which appears to be ~9” a side. The base appears to be made from a white material - that may be Teflon. A discussion of the use of Teflon in these devices is included in the “modeling some real results” post. There is an electron gun which is listed as a 50 milliamp, 2,000 volt gun. This voltage is certainly lower than the drive voltage for WB6 (12,500 volts), PXL1 (15,000 volts) and the Navy teams request on March 10th 2012  for (10,000 volt) e-guns. This also appears to be a new vacuum chamber. The Sydney team was using a bell jar. It appears the team has more money devoted to this project.
The conference also gave us a glimpse into a new company, started by Dr. Joel G Rogers. The name of the company is Convergent Scientific Inc. Their presentation called for 240,000 dollars to build a test reactor. Here is a picture of their design .
“Nothing arises completely of its own power” –Buddhist saying
There are competing reactions to the fusion mechanism, including: x-ray radiation, collision without fusion and columbic repulsion. There is a list of concerns, including: thermalisation, x-ray losses, plasma instabilities, ion injection, cloud temperature and magnetic reconnection. Rider[15, 16] and Nevins  have both raised these issues and their papers should be reviewed and addressed. More details can be found in "explaining the counter argument" post on this blog. We need to do more experimentation.
The top concern from the general public has been: can a collision of two deuterium ions at 10 KeV, lead to fusion? It can; but not with high reliability. NIF’s stated goal was to get the plasma to 10 KeV, under a dense confinement . The “reliability” is measured by the reaction cross section. The cross section is a measure of the “fusibility” of two atoms. The way cross sections have been measured, for decades, is by accelerating particles in an electric field – in much the same manner as the Polywell will attempt fusion power. The cross section is shown below .
In research, the best work, is the work you can avoid. Hence, before we build a machine can we use simulations to figure out if the idea will work? Simulations are by definition, simpler than the real world. This makes analysis of a simulated reactor clearer and cleaner than an experimental one. Ideally, one would use details from WB6 and previous modeling work from the University of Sydney , happyjack , indrek  as the starting point. Our hope is to use the MCNP code  from LANL to do this simulation. We would like to couple simulations with dimensional analysis to test a wide range of Polywell operating conditions. Dimensional analysis means varying a set of dimensionless numbers to see what effect they have on operations. By grouping variables this way, research can be significantly accelerated. For example, it may work better with 10:1 electrons to ion ratio or if the magnetic field is tuned to a specific strength. Our goal would be to find a resonance condition, a sweet spot, or modes of operation for this machine. Here is list of groups we would like to try:
27. Khachan, Joe. "OVERVIEW OF IEC AT THE UNIVERSITY OF." 14th US-Japan Workshop on IEC Fusion. N.p., 19 Oct. 2012. Web. http://www.aero.umd.edu/sedwick/presentations/S1P3_Joe_Khachan_Presentation.pdf.
28. Rogers, Joel, and Devlin Baker. "Designing a Small-Scale D+D Reactor." 14th US-Japan Workshop on IEC Fusion. N.p., 19 Oct. 2012. Web. http://www.aero.umd.edu/sedwick/presentations/S4P3_Joel_Rogers_Presentation.pdf.
29. Xiong, Helen. "Presolicitation Notice Plasma Whiffleball 8.0." NECO Synopsis Database. The US Navy - NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER, 10 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.