Charles Seife is the author of five previous books, including
Proofiness and Zero, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand
Award for first nonfiction and was a New York Times notable
book. He has written for a wide variety of publications, including
The New York Times, Wired, New Scientist, Science, Scientific
American, and The Economist. He is a professor of
journalism at New York University and lives in New York City.
Fifty years ago scientists and futurists glowingly predicted a future in which cars would run on little fusion cells and the world would extract deuterium from the oceans for an inexhaustible supply of energy. Like all too many shining visions, fusion turned out to be a mirage. Award-winning science journalist Seife (Zero) takes a long, hard look at nuclear fusion and the failure of one scheme after another to turn it into a sustainable energy source. Many readers will remember the 1989 "cold fusion" debacle, but Seife explains why tabletop fusion isn't all that difficult to achieve. The problem, as with all fusion devices except the hydrogen bomb, is to produce more energy than the fusion process consumes. The two most promising approaches today use plasma and lasers, but again, Seife reports, scientists have been repeatedly frustrated. The United States and several other industrial nations recently agreed optimistically to sink billions of dollars into a 30-year fusion power project. Seife's approachable book should interest everyone concerned about finding alternative energy sources. (Nov. 3) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
aWritten with clarity and infectious enthusiasm that are rare in
science writing. . . . "Zero" is really something.a
--"The Washington Post"
"Substantive and libely...Seife writes with effortless clarity."
--"New York Times Book Review" " A must-read for anyone who wants to know the story behind ongoing multibillion-dollar attempts at bottling up the sun."