About motivation

When I was a child and after as a student, a dream followed me: to participate to the space conquest, to develop new launchers, new spacecrafts, to make mankind reach the planets, and why not the stars. I grew up with the nostalgia of the Apollo program and the moon landing. I lived some major failures of aeronautics, some dramatic (Challenger), other pathetic (the cancellation of the european space shuttle Hermes (the story on wikipedia or a more detailed version in french on capcom). But these events did not even scratch my enthusiasm. I wanted to bring brilliant ideas, to dedicate my life to these projects.

After my graduation I was hired by a major actor of the european space industry. I learnt a lot of things there on system design, on quality assurance, on project management, all in all, on how to design and build a rocket. But my main learning was disillusion; I had to give up my dreams. I thought back, of all my forces, but without success. The day-to-day work in the space industry had nothing to do with the brilliant image of the space conquest: boring meetings, boring Powerpoint presentations, no motivation from people, projects that go directly to the trash because they would cost too much although half of the funding was dedicated to the answer to the call for request. And impossible to make things move, the machine is too huge, my role to unimportant. So I gave up.

I moved to the fusion research where I am still now: the physics is incredibly interesting (not that the physics of astronautics is not, but it is left aside), tons of things to learn. Money is there (no ITER has not been cancelled yet), so no reason to lose the motivation. And yet, if you can imagine the number of searchers which are unmotivated. Not that they are not enthusiastic, no, the system is simply too huge, too much inertia and the project, the research goes forward at a very slow pace.

I wonder why we cannot have another way to boost this motivation. We can take two examples: google is not only a search engine, it is above all an innovation engine. Of course, I have only an external viewpoint, perhaps the reality inside is different (like in astronautics), but they new ideas almost every month if not every week. Employees can express their talent and their motivation. Could we not take a bit of this motivation and inject it into fusion research?

The second example concerns fusion home brewing. You can have a look at the fusor.net webpage. These are people building their small fusion reactor at home. It is not a tokamak, it electrostatic inertial fusion. I do not want here to rise the issue of the physical relevance of the projects. But what I see in the blogs, articles and videos of the so-called fusioneers is passion. They believe in what they do and they transmit this passion to the public.


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