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Broadcast 709 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on May 8th, 2007
Guests: Dr. Robert W Bussard, Thomas A Ligon
Tom Ligon was the guest for this Space Show program to discuss fusion and the work of Dr. Robert Bussard. We were surprised about half-way through the program when Dr. Robert Bussard called the program and joined in our discussion. We started the discussion with Tom with an explanation of Inertial Electrostatic Fusion and the work of Dr. Bussard. One listener asked a question about how fusion could be possible with students using desktop reactors for science contests given the high temperatures this listener considered essential for fusion reaction. Tom explained that the Dr. Bussard fusion method does not rely on high temperatures as does a large Tokomak reactor. You will certainly want to listen to Tom's explanation. Along with Tom, several listeners provided website links which explain more about fusion and Dr. Bussard's work. Check out the following: and Yahoo IEC Fusion news group IEC Fusion Resources Links to M. Simon articles on the Bussard machine can be found in "strout" and Tom has co-operated on some of them Also, check out and and Tom was continuing to discuss the nature of Dr. Bussard's work and its current status regarding ongoing development and funding when Dr. Bussard called The Space Show and joined the discussion. Dr. Bussard took us through the development history of his work, its present status, the need for funding, and the storage of his federal lab equipment in federal contracts with SpaceDev in San Diego. We also explored with both Tom and Dr. Bussard the notion that many listeners and others raise regarding any type of effort to silence Dr. Bussard's work due to forces from the status-quo community, the oil industry, government, etc. Dr. Bussard does not believe that is happening, instead citing inertia in the research community, resistance to new and very out of the box projects, etc. Dr. Bussard explained his plans for moving forward with the nonprofit foundation he has created which is located at I urge interested listeners to visit this site and make a contribution to support his work. Believe me, its not enough to be supportive though that is extremely helpful but as I have learned with The Space Show, the real support come to play when listeners to The Space Show program actually help The Space Show exist by offering financial support. I am sure the same is true for Dr. Bussard and his work so please, consider supporting what he is doing. If what Dr. Bussard is working on can be proven out, we actually have a good chance for changing the way we do things on Earth and developing a true space-faring economy which of course is what The Space Show supports. I urge listeners to listen to this program, to Tom and Dr. Bussard. Its packed full of information, Dr. Bussard telling us about his Google and other lectures which have become so famous, upcoming papers, and so much more. Its a unique opportunity to hear both guests but especially Dr. Bussard who is advancing with age and this makes him and his work more valuable and important to the world by the minute. For those of you who wish to send additional comments or questions to Tom Ligon, his email address is While Dr. Bussard did not provide his contact information, you will hear Tom suggest its on the title page of his Valencia, Spain paper from last year. As always, you can send a note through me at If you send a request to, I will send you the full set of links provided by Tom Ligon.

About our guests...

Dr. Robert W Bussard
Dr. Robert W. Bussard is an American physicist working primarily in nuclear fusion energy research. Bussard received his PhD from Princeton. He is currently functioning as co-founder and director of Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation. He is the former Assistant Director to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and has held prominent positions at Los Alamos National Laboratories, Oakridge Labs, and TRW Systems. Besides developing this year's winning technology, Dr. Bussard is also known for conceiving the Bussard ramjet, an interstellar spacecraft powered by hydrogen fusion using hydrogen collected from the interstellar gas utilizing a magnetic field. Dr. Bussard and his team at Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation, after close to 20 years of hard work, have developed a revolutionary radiation-free fusion process that takes boron-11 and fuses a proton to it, producing, in its excited state, a carbon-12 atom. This excited carbon-12 atom decays to beryllium-8 and helium-4. It was developed under a DOD contract and has recently been made public.

Thomas A Ligon
Thomas A. Ligon Jr. Education: B.S., Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1975, with option in Health Physics. 1974 Undergraduate Research Award, Society of the Sigma Xi. B.S., Engineering Technology, Electrical, VPI&SU, 1978. With a background in electronics, chemical kinetics, biology, health physics, and aviation, Tom Ligon is a technical jack of all trades. He believes Heinlein’s adage, “Specialization is for insects.” If he does have one specialty, it is test-rigging. From computer data acquisition to carpentry, Tom has a knack for piecing together sophisticated tests from ordinary parts and materials. In 1995, that background made him the right person at the right time to join with R. W. Bussard at the Energy-Matter Conversion Corporation, helping to re-start an earlier effort at proving the Polywell concept for producing controlled nuclear fusion. Not long after joining EMC2, Dr. Bussard suggested Tom should tap one of his other talents, writing, to tell the world about Inertial Electrostatic Fusion. And so, Tom wrote an article called “The World’s Simplest Fusion Reactor”, which was published in the December 1998 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. The article won the Analab award for best fact article of the year. At Dr. Bussard’s suggestion, the article recommended the Hirsch-Farnsworth Fusor as a good high-school science project. Largely as a result of that article, an amateur fusion movement was born, and at least eight high-school students have made fusion to date. One of them, Michael Li, won second place in the 2003 Intel Science Talent Search. Now Tom is helping Dr. Bussard spread the word about successful tests of Dr. Bussard’s reactor run in November 2005. Dr. Bussard believes he has achieved proof of concept for the reactor, and is ready to scale it up. If successful, this technology should be ideal for space propulsion, as well as terrestrial power production.

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