Fusion Energy League Forms Meetup Group, Holds Kickoff Meeting
The Fusion Energy League, a nonprofit, N.J.-based organization dedicated to the idea that everyone has a role to play in the development of clean fusion energy, held a kickoff meeting the evening of Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in a Princeton Public Library conference room.
“Our first and foremost objective is to attract financing from a variety of sources,” Executive Director Rezwan Razani told the small group of attendees who responded to a meetup invitation.
“We need to go beyond the small community of scientific researchers who rely on grants and other sources of funding that are too often subject to cutbacks or cancellation,” Razani explained. “Fusion holds a tremendous potential benefit for people from all walks of life, and we need to connect with them in ways that benefit everyone.”
But connecting with people doesn’t necessarily mean filling their heads with scientific facts or even educating them about the benefits of fusion, according to Razani. “We need to engage their hearts as well as their minds,” she insisted. “We need to get them involved emotionally as well as intellectually. There are a number of ways we can accomplish this.”
One way is to make learning about fusion enjoyable instead of an intellectual chore. “Fortunately, the world as we know it today offers a number of opportunities to do this,” Razani said. “Video games and software apps, for example, are excellent ways to engage people and get them involved in problem-solving activities, as evidenced by the success of games like “Angry Birds” and “World of Warcraft.”
“We need to reach out to not only the people who play these games but those who develop them—those who could create, for example, a game that allows people to assemble a fusion reactor using drag-and-drop pieces. They could then look for ways to increase its energy yield by assembling the pieces in different combinations and configurations.”
The world of social media also offers endless possibilities. Imagine, for example, a game called “Fusionville,” inspired by “FarmVille,” the popular social game on Facebook, with gamers building a fusion reactor instead of a farm. The payoff, of course, would be to build awareness and appreciation of—and affection for—the fusion endeavor. Movie stars and sports celebrities, who often reign supreme in today’s world, could also spread this awareness if they were to become involved in ways visible to the general public.
Coinciding with these efforts, a Fusion Energy League primary function will be to make data on the progress of fusion experiments accessible and understandable to taxpayers and potential investors. To that end, an objective is to develop a Fusion Experiment Tracker, which would serve as a bridge from peer review to the public, to help make sense of the fusion endeavor.