(via Derestricted: click through for the LARGE version)
Granted, it’s not as large as the Large Hadron Collider**, but it is incredibly, dazzlingly beautiful.
AND you can watch it in action — a truly awesome thing to behold:
But, as the Caterpillar in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland might have asked if faced with such an existential quandry: Y?
Umm, for use as a potential source of nuclear fusion energy. I think.
Plasma is very hot, ionized gas that can conduct electricity – essentially, it’s what stars are made of. If heated to the point of ignition, hydrogen ions could fuse into helium, the same reaction that powers the sun. This fusion could be a clean, sustainable and limitless energy source.
…N’importe quoi: whatever its purpose, this whatsit earns extra kudos for two simple reasons.
To sum up, Large Helical Device = “stellarator” + beautiful + awesome + Bowie + Iron Man.***
** CERN has to shut down the LHC during the northern winter. Not because the scientists all go on holidays, fagged out after a 20-year wind-up. Not because it’s dark and nobody wants to get out of bed and go to work underground. It’s because for the 22 days of mid-winter, when the French and Swiss are all using heaters to avoid turning into chocolate popsicles, there basically isn’t enough power to run the LHC and France at the same time.
*** Disclaimer: I haven’t solved an equation since Year 10 maths, and even then I got it wrong.
First published at tumblr Proof (v.)