December 15, Controlled Nuclear Fusion
Nuclear fusion (for the blink of an eye,)
From hydrogen—helium, like the sun’s core.
Compression by lasers shot pressure sky high;
From the energy input: the yield, even more.
We’ve done here on Earth what the stars do in space.
Synthesize atoms, radiate energy,
Which warms lots of planets all over the place;
Here, stardust combining made biology.
The next step: to harness and use this new power.
The sun’s power made Permian plants that we burn. (1)
Because of the cash that oil companies shower,
We’ll burn and pollute ‘til Republicans learn.
And what must they learn? Solar power is here.
We use Einstein’s photoelectric effect (2)
To make solar panels, which work well, it’s clear.
Their energy’s clean, from sun’s rays they collect.
We’ve known for some time how to harness the sun;
Wood, gas, oil, and photons, already in use.
Just one of these methods will get the job done
Without greenhouse gases and nature’s abuse.
By all means, keep working on fusion on Earth.
But don’t wait for that to get off fossil fuel.
For wind, dams, and solar have proven their worth.
If we use their power, the Earth will stay cool.
- The Permian period was from about 250-300 million years ago. We get fossil fuels from the decay of plant and animal life from this period. In Texas, in the Permian Basin, the air smells like oil and gas from all the leakage from wells.
- Einstein’s photoelectric effect (1905) describes how photons (from the sun or elsewhere) can knock electrons out of atoms and create an electric current. Voila! Solar panels. Many 19th and 20th century scientists contributed to understanding this effect.