What do television and nuclear fusion have in common? Philo Farnsworth


Probably this question does not make much sense when reading it, however, if we look back in history and search through history for great men who have marked history, we will find the answer, a particular name that represents ingenuity and perseverance: Philo Farnsworth. Going into his bibliography in detail may be unnecessary, since there is a lot of information on this character on the internet, however, the following paragraphs will highlight some important elements that will help us answer the question posed.

Philo Farnsworth was one of the most important inventors that humanity has had, this because at the young age of 14, he developed a concept of an electronic device that would change the lives of millions of people around the planet to this day: the Television . Although at that time not only he was working in the same line of research, he was able to completely demonstrate the usefulness of an electronic device in the transmission of images at a distance, which he did in 1927 and which was later translated in the assignment of the first patent for an invention of this type in 1930. This brought him a series of undesirable situations throughout his life, since his invention clearly not only represented a radical technological advance, but also great economic interests that would impact an entire industry not only in the United States, but worldwide, thus bringing some effects that diminished their quality of life and family situation.

But his capacity for inventiveness and seeing physics as a powerful weapon to change people's lives did not stop, which is why during the last years of his life he worked in the field of Nuclear Physics, specifically in Nuclear Fusion, creating and patenting a device called Fusor, also known as "Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor", which is based on inertial electrostatic confinement.

The Fusor works in the following way, by having concentric wires with a cathode incorporated inside an anode, positive ions are attracted by the action of the cathode and are divided by the voltage drop, acting an electric field on them and heating them to the conditions of fusion. The ions can then collide in the center of the device and consequently fuse, or recirculate if they do not fuse, to increase the chances of causing the reaction later. Since this device does not generate net energy, that is, the energy delivered to the device for its functions is greater than that obtained (for various purposes), it is only applied in the generation of neutrons.

Clearly, the enormous mark that this man left on humanity is still valid, because through his intelligence and perseverance, he changed the course of history forever, allowing a substantial improvement in the quality of life of people and contributing to scientific development in the field of Nuclear Physics, specifically that of Fusion.

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