STEM Café: Fusion Energy: A Clean Energy Source for the Future?

For nearly a century people have been dreaming about fusion energy — a clean energy source that could help to reverse climate change. In theory, fusion could provide a nearly limitless energy source without releasing greenhouse gases and with less radioactive waste than current fission nuclear power plants. Yet, fusion energy faces physics and engineering challenges due to the immense heat and pressure needed to generate fusion reactions, and the use of rare isotopes of hydrogen. Will recent advances in plasma science and fusion research make fusion energy a reality?

Join Xueying Lu, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at NIU and Argonne National Laboratory, and David Hedin, Ph.D., NIU professor of experimental particle physics, to learn more at our next STEM Café. They’ll explain the process of fusion and share some of the different approaches and pros and cons of fusion energy. They’ll also discuss recent breakthroughs, such as the National Ignition Facility (NIF) announcement in 2022, and explore their impacts.

Xueying Lu’s day job is as an accelerator physicist, where she studies how to build compact particle accelerators — devices that use intense electromagnetic fields to accelerate charged particles to high energies over short distances. Her graduate training was partly in plasma physics, and she still maintains an interest in and teaches courses in plasma physics.

David Hedin does research at Fermilab. Part of his graduate training was in nuclear engineering, and he has taught courses which cover fusion reactions in stars and the early universe.

This STEM Cafe topic was brought to NIU STEAM by the DeKalb Citizens' Environmental Commission. NIU STEAM welcomes community input for STEM Cafe topics featuring current trends and research.

Northern Illinois University STEM Cafés are part of NIU STEAM and are designed to increase public awareness of the critical role that STEM fields play in our everyday lives. They are offered in partnership with the NIU Alumni Association and made possible with support from Bayer Fund.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Fatty’s Pub and Grille, DeKalb 1312 W Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115

Event Type

Community Events

Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, General Public



Free. Registration encouraged.

NIU Alumni Association, NIU STEAM
Center for P-20 Engagement, Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development, Physics
Contact Name

Judith Dymond

Contact Email or Phone

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