One of the greatest challenges for modern science is unlocking the secret of nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion presents the opportunity for humanity to obtain an extremely efficient yet surprisingly clean source of energy. Einstein’s famous equation – E=mc² – shows the relationship between energy and mass. It turns out that all matter is essentially energy, meaning that by breaking apart the matter to its basic constituents, you can unleash energy.
When two hydrogen atoms are collided together at extremely high speeds, the two protons join with enough energy to form deuterium, while releasing energy. As more hydrogens are collided, helium is formed while releasing more energy and also hydrogen, which can fuse with other hydrogen to start more reactions. This is a chain reaction. Once the chain reaction is established, the fusion reaction will keep producing immense amounts of energy until it uses up all the hydrogen available.
However, there are two main problems we are still trying to solve when it comes to unlocking fusion. The first is generating enough energy to kickstart the chain reaction in the first place, which is called ignition. The second is containing this immense energy, as the intense heat produced would melt any material we can produce to contain it.
This brief overview of nuclear fusion also offers a lesson in life. Most of the good things in life are not single events, but self-sustaining processes. Things like good habits, happiness and human relationships. To form a good habit, you must invest incredible amounts of time, resources and willpower. To start a relationship, you need to make an effort to show the other person how much they mean to you. To be happy, you need to completely change the way you perceive the world.
The best things in life do not happen by accident, but because you made an effort to ignite the chain reactions. Of course, you will constantly need to maintain those reactions so they don’t explode on you, but at the end of the day, starting is really half the battle.
(Couldn’t come up with an appropriate picture for this article……..so here’s a gif of Groot dancing)