Seventh International Conference on Plasma Physics
Innsbruck, 23-30 August 1978

Director, Office of Fusion Energy
US Department of Energy
Washington, D.C., United States of America

Dr. Edwin Kintner, Director of the United States of America's magnetic confinement fusion programme, delivered the Artsimovich Memorial Lecture and was introduced by Dr. R.S. Pease, Chairman of the International Fusion Research Council

Lev Andreevich Artsimovich said in 1970: "There can be no doubt that our descendants will learn to exploit the energy of fusion for peaceful purposes even before its use becomes necessary for the preservation of human civilization."

It is a high honour to have been asked to deliver this first Artsimovich memorial lecture. I approach the task with deep humility. It is a difficult assignment for me because I did not know Academician Artsimovich personally. However, I will do my best to convey to you the character of the man and his contribution to the great enterprise to which we are all so deeply committed.

My personal knowledge of Artsimovich began during a visit of the Joint Fusion Power Coordinating Committee to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1976. On our first quiet day in Moscow, Mel Gottlieb insisted that we find Artsimovich's grave. It seemed strange to me to visit the grave of a man who had been buried for several years with all of Moscow to visit, but the rest of the group agreed that was an appropriate thing to do, so we found our way to the Novodevichi Monastery where so many of Russia's great and near great are buried.

As a result of and following that visit I learned much more of the life and works of Lev Andreevich Artsimovich. He was born in Moscow, the son of a university professor, a graduate of the State University in Minsk, head of a major department at the Kurchatov Institute, and recipient of the Lenin prize in 1958. From 1950 until near the time of his death five years ago, Artsimovich was in charge of the Soviet programme in controlled thermonuclear research. But those simple biographical facts are familiar to most of you. They do not explain the special respect in which Artsimovich is held throughout the world of science. That level of respect could be earned only by an outstanding personage - a man of unusual qualities in a number of different directions. He was, of course, a brilliant scientist with a remarkable grasp on both the philosophical and material aspects of science as a whole. That grasp was supported by an instinct for the central point in any scientific problem, by a critical sense of technical rightness, and by skepticism tempered with hope and enthusiasm.

Brilliance as a scientist does not alone explain Artsimovich's special influence on the history of fusion. There had to be other important characteristics to explain his contribution to controlled thermonuclear fusion.

First, he was unusually human in the way he related to his fellow men, even when the relations involved sharp technical criticism; and human in the humour and wit he exhibited in his interpretation of his work. I believe the ability to be truly witty, the ability to recognize humour in the most serious of endeavours, is the mark not only of a great mind, but of a great personality. I would like to quote several of Artsimovich's humorous comments. The first is one experimentalist view of theoreticians:

"Our relationships as experimentalists with theoretical
physicists should be like those with a beautiful woman - we
should accept with gratitude any favours she offers, but we
should not expect too much nor believe all that is said."

The second quotation describes the conservatism of some scientific bodies:

"If one proposed to the Royal Society a two-wheeled
vehicle for personal transportation, they would immediately
conclude that it was impossible because it is clearly and
absolutely unstable."

The third comment summarizes the great difficulties of fusion:

"Confining a fusion plasma is like riding a one-wheeled bicycle."

But Artsimovich felt there could be rewards from fusion more than the generation of useful energy:

"Every housewife should have her own 'pinch'."

Finally, he stated his own view of why scientific endeavours deserved governmental support:

"Science is a way to pursue one's sense of inquiry at the expense
of the State."

Those of you who knew him will remember many more wise and witty remarks.

So what did this man, a brilliant mind with unusual intellectual honesty, sharp wit, and forceful personality, achieve?

Although Artsimovich did not conceive the tokamak idea, he quickly perceived its possibilities, nurtured the concept from its infancy, recognized and clearly enunciated the fundamental principles which made its potential for plasma confinement so great, demonstrated that potential in his own laboratory, and then convinced the rest of the world. Now, worldwide, the tokamak is clearly the leading experimental device for confining plasmas.

We in the United States owe him a special debt of gratitude for convincing our fusion community that the tokamak was superior to the concepts on which we were then working. Even after the exciting results reported at the Novosibirsk meeting in 1968, the United States did not appreciate the significance of Soviet tokamak work. It was Artsimovich's lectures at MIT in the spring of 1969 following the British Thomson scattering experiments at the Kurchatov Institute that changed all that dramatically. The MIT lectures are classic in the purity of the basic insights into the physical principles involved and the clarity of the presentation. Of course, there was great reluctance in Great Britain and the United States to accept as valid tokamak advances after so many disappointments with other ways of confining plasmas, but the lectures at MIT led quickly to the ST at Princeton and the ORMAK at Oak Ridge and thence to a diversion of the mainline of the US programme away from stellarators towards tokamaks.

From that decision have come the remarkable developments which have taken place in the United States programme, both in its growth and in its scientific achievements in confinement of plasmas.

Those of us in the programme now very often forget how rapidly progress has been made. At the time of the reporting of the fundamental promise of the tokamak principle in Novosibirsk in 1968, the best parameters which had been achieved were an nt of 3.5 X 1011 and an ion temperature of 300 eV. In the decade since that time, nt has been improved by a factor of almost 100, and temperature by a factor of more than 10.

The rapid progress of the past decade is continuing. In recent experiments, Princeton has achieved significantly higher temperatures than heretofore, earlier than expected and in stronger form than expected. These results provide increased confidence that the scientific feasibility of fusion will be completely demonstrated in the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor. They have provided essential scientific information which confirms that our thinking of magnetic fusion is correct. We believe them to be of great sign) not only to the US fusion effort, but to the world fusion community. I am sure Academician Artsimovich would have been highly gratified by this further confirmation of the validity of his work.

So the Artsimovich contribution was not simply to select a confinement scheme and demonstrate its possibilities, but to point the direction - based on sound understanding and judgment of the natural phenomena involved - which fusion research has so successfully followed, not only in the Soviet Union but worldwide.

Another result of the significant influence of Professor Artsimovich is in the uniquely international relationships which fusion represents. Artsimovich's personal leadership was fundamental in advancing the cause of international scientific collaboration. He believed about science as a whole, and especially for fusion, that close collaboration on a world scale was vital to success. He stated this viewpoint so strongly and so well in a paper he presented twenty years ago at the Second Geneva Conference that I would like to quote it:

"A most important factor in ensuring success in these investigations is the continuation and further development of the international co-operation initiated by our conference. The solution of the problem of thermonuclear fusion will require a maximum concentration of intellectual effort and the mobilization of very appreciable material facilities and complex apparatus.

This problem seems to have been created especially for the purpose of developing close cooperation between the scientists and engineers of various countries, working according to a common plan, and continuously exchanging the results of their calculations, experiments and engineering developments.

The combining of efforts on an international scale in the field of controlled fusion reaction investigation will undoubtedly shorten the time needed for us to arrive at our ultimate goal."

Artsimovich's thoughts about the need for international cooperation in fusion were reciprocated by scientists in other nations who recognized the great future importance of fusion and its freedom from military or proprietary implications. The United States and Great Britain had been working together under the Libby Cockcroft agreements for several years and the USA opened all its work and results in the Second Geneva Conference in 1958. Where has this mutual recognition of the need to work together in developing fusion for the benefit of all mankind led? This Conference is, itself, an important example of the distance fusion has traveled under the leadership of the IAEA towards full, open scientific co-operation on a world scale. There are other examples. The close collaboration under the Bi-lateral agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union provides upwards of one hundred man-weeks of scientific exchange each way each year, with many workshops and conferences. This collaboration between the US and the USSR has contributed much to the progress being made in the United States, and I hope and believe the same can be said for its benefits to the Soviet programme.

There is a strong and growing collaboration through the International Energy Agency agreements for work on plasma-surface interactions on TEXTOR at Julich, the Large Coil Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and on projects for fusion materials research facilities at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, and Hanford Engineering Development Laboratory in Hanford, Washington.

The United States and Japan are presently discussing ways so strengthen the relationships for fusion development between our two nations.

Furthermore, there are proposals through both IAEA and IEA channels for closer working relationships in planning programmes and projects so as to eliminate duplication, share facilities, and assign responsibility for solving specific fusion problems. One such proposal - that by Academician Velikhov, Artsimovich's successor as leader of the Soviet programme, in Vienna in June of this year - that the next large fusion device should be built on an international basis, is being vigorously discussed. I expect that concrete actions resulting from that proposal will commence shortly. In this instance the IAEA is considering a series of workshops, made up of three persons each from the USSR, Japan, Euratom and the US, to be convened intermittently for a period of one year to conceptualize and define the objectives and scope of the next large fusion device.

These unprecedented initiatives stem, I believe, from a growing consensus, beginning with attitudes and principles for international collaboration expressed by Artsimovich, that fusion offers a unique opportunity for co-operation between nations on a problem whose solution is vital to the survival of the entire race on this planet. There are no military and no immediate proprietary or commercial threats in fusion. Therefore, if we are able to work together towards solving this problem in a mutually beneficial, synergistic way, we may establish precedents for solving important future problems which are inevitable for the world's population riding a limited sphere through space, a sphere which contains increasingly limited resources, and on which war with thermonuclear weaponry is unacceptable as a basis for deciding the distribution of those resources.

The nations of the world are now spending a total of approximately one billion dollars per year equivalent on research in controlled thermonuclear fusion. Even that is not enough considering the massive implications and similarly massive problems of developing fusion to practicality as the ultimate energy resource. So we must carry forward with our efforts to gain maximum possible progress by making our co-operation and collaboration increasingly effective.

In this connection it may be interesting to note that the US Department of Energy has been reviewing the prospects and status of the US fusion programme for almost a year. The review included as a major element an analysis of the balance and pace of the programme by a group of eight respected scientists. I am glad to report my expectation that, on the basis of that extensive review, the momentum and breadth of the US programme will be maintained.

Finally, I would like to speak on a thought first proposed by Artsimovich which seems especially pertinent to our circumstances and for the individuals and programmes whose leadership is represented so well in this auditorium. Artsimovich wrote in 1970 that there were three main reasons for mastering controlled nuclear fusion - first, it would provide access to practically inexhaustible energy sources; second, it did not require formation of great quantities of radioactive byproducts, and finally - a philosophical reason - success in developing fusion for the practical benefit of all mankind would re-establish the self-confidence of scientists in themselves and in science.

He was then speaking of the fact that "in this area of research the self-confidence of physicists has sustained a very powerful blow", referring to the early over-optimism and resultant defeat and pessimism in plasma research. I would like to extend the thought to include the self-confidence of scientists and the respect in which science is held in all scientific endeavour today.

In the United States, and I sense to some degree in the rest of the world, science has lost its own internal confidence and the confidence of the lay public in it. The assumed certainty that it is "good" to penetrate the dark corners of nature with the illumination of the human mind is being questioned. Science is held responsible for the doubts that it has raised about the existence and nature of God, as explained by medieval man, with all the moral questions those doubts raise. Science is blamed for the development of weapons which can end civilization in seconds. Science is charged with providing the modern industrial processes which contaminate the environment and allow the population to increase to the point that life is not as full as many wish. Science is feared when it begins to experiment with the more fundamental aspects of genetics. And so, in many places, there is a turning of the back on science and scientists, at least in those areas which might be oriented towards further development of modern applied technology. Some scientists have accepted this value judgment. Many of the most brilliant have turned from working on or supporting any subject, including fusion, which might have direct, practical results.

Perhaps it is precisely in this context that we should examine and try to learn from the life and contribution of Lev Andreevich Artsimovich. If we in the fusion community can build on the great beginning which has been made and carry forward with the development of fusion - hopefully, optimistically, enthusiastically working together toward providing unlimited energy, the fundamental energy of the universe, in a controlled, environmentally benign manner - we can once more believe in ourselves and in science as the noblest, most constructive activity to which the mind of man can be turned. We may help re-establish that no one need fear shining the bright searchlight of the human mind on the many remaining dark corners of our understanding of the universe around us.

We have made great progress in that direction. We are on the threshold of accelerating our page. We are not yet at "the beginning of the end", but we may be "at the end of the beginning" of the most difficult technological development man has ever attempted. We can and should proceed from this point with confidence - the confidence Artsimovich expressed in the quotation with which I began, "Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that our descendants will learn to exploit the energy of fusion for peaceful purposes."

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