by Daniel Clery
The globalising, industrialising world has an insatiable demand for energy, but conventional sources are running out. Oil and coal are burning away, yet solar, wind and water are decades from providing a replacement, if they ever will. The solution, says Daniel Clery in this deeply researched and revelatory book, is to be found in the original energy source, the Sun itself. There, at its centre, the fusion of 620 million tonnes of hydrogen nuclei every second generates an unfathomable amount of energy. By harnessing even a tiny piece of this, mankind could secure all the heat and power we would ever need to survive. The simple yet extraordinary ambition of nuclear-fusion scientists has garnered many sceptics but, as A Piece of the Sun makes clear, large-scale nuclear fusion is scientifically possible and perhaps even preferable to other options. Despite the recent high profile nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiishi and lingering post-Chernobyl reticence towards nuclear power among much of the general public, Clery passionately and eloquently argues that the only thing keeping us from harnessing this cheap, clean and renewable energy is our own shortsightedness and caution. Fusion energy would be clean, green and virtually limitless. The question is, after six decades of trying, can scientists tame a piece of the Sun? Timely and authoritative, A Piece of the Sun is an accessible, rousing wake-up call to change how we think about energy.
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