Lasers could “save the world”

An audience packed out with hipsters in Shoreditch was told last night that lasers could provide all the energy the world needs, if only scientists could crack the sun’s code. Dr Arthur […]

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By Taryn Nixon

An audience packed out with hipsters in Shoreditch was told last night that lasers could provide all the energy the world needs, if only scientists could crack the sun’s code.

Dr Arthur Turrell of Imperial College London told the crowd: “Lasers prove to be a very important part of the process. They put energy into light in the form of laser beams, this could then ignite fusion.”

Fusion is the process which powers all stars in the universe including the sun. Its fuel, deuterium, is found in abundance in sea water. But the high temperatures needed to ignite the fusion process are proving difficult to crack.

The scientist continued: “Lasers are really important to us, they’re the way that we think we can get fusion to work on earth and produce energy. And that’s because lasers have a really kind of magical property, which is we can put energy into light in the form of laser beams and we can then deliver that energy very precisely both in space and also in time as well.”

If experts don’t ever crack the code, the scientist reckons we’re going to be in serious trouble because our existing source of energy supplies, fossil fuels, could run out while renewables would needed on a massive scale.

Asked by a member of the crowd what the oil companies will do when fusion works, Dr Turrell replied, tongue in cheek, they would suddenly want to be the researchers’ “friends”.

The science-cum-laser event called Laser Quest was hosted by art and science bloggers Super/Collider in east London.