Topics Discussed #353 – Lex Fridman & Dennis Whyte: Nuclear fusion, e=mc^2, Fission vs fusion, Nuclear weapons, Plasma, Nuclear fusion reactor, 2022 nuclear fusion breakthrough explained, Magnetic confinement, ITER, SPARC, Future of fusion power, Engineering challenges, Nuclear disasters, Cold fusion, Kardashev scale, Advice for young people.
Dennis Whyte is a recognized leader in fusion research. Especially in the magnetic confinement of plasmas. Whyte has paved an innovative and faster path to producing fusion energy. He leads the fusion project, SPARC — a compact, high-field, net fusion energy fusion device — in collaboration with private fusion startup Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS). The core of the SPARC project was formed over eight years ago during a design course led by Whyte to challenge assumptions in fusion. Many of the ideas underpinning the high-field approach — including the use of HTS for high-field, demountable magnets, liquid blankets, and ARC (a fusion power plant concept) — have been conceived of or significantly advanced in his design courses. Whyte has over 300 publications, is a fellow of the American Physical Society. And has served on panels for the National Academies, the United States government, and the Royal Society. In 2018 Whyte received The Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Board of Directors Leadership Award which is given annually to individuals who have shown outstanding leadership qualities in accelerating the development of fusion. Whyte earned a BS from the University of Saskatchewan, and an MS and PhD from Université du Québec.