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Fusion Expo returns again - and it's bigger and better, says Commission

A touring exhibition that explains the basic principles of nuclear fusion and has been seen across Europe since 1993, has recently been revamped by its developers, from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the Euratom Suisse Association.

Fusion Expo: 'learning h...
A touring exhibition that explains the basic principles of nuclear fusion and has been seen across Europe since 1993, has recently been revamped by its developers, from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the Euratom Suisse Association.

Fusion Expo: 'learning how to harness energy from the stars' will next be on show in Lisbon, Portugal, from 15 January to 28 February 2000.

The exhibition includes about 75 panel displays and multimedia presentations, including videos and models of experiments. These are used to explain how fusion research is conducted in the Euratom associate laboratories as well as in other leading laboratories around the world. It details the role of international cooperation in fusion R&D, particularly on ITER (the international thermonuclear experimental reactor), an experimental fusion reactor currently being designed together with the USA, Japan and Russia.

Fusion Expo had its 'première' at CERN-Geneva and at KfK-Karlsruhe, before starting a 'Tour of Europe' with a presentation in Brussels, in the European Week for Scientific Culture in November 1993. Up to now, this tour has visited venues such as the Deutsches Museum (Munich), Palais de la Découverte (Paris), Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid), Fondazione IDIS (Napoli), Techniek Museum (Delft), Elmuseet (Danemark), Tekniska Museum in Stockholm, and sites in Padova, Bologna, Lisbon, Marseille, Trieste, Vienna, Esslingen, and Strasbourg.

While its longevity reflects the exhibition's success, its developers are all too aware that six years can be a long time in research. Fusion Expo was therefore updated most recently in August 1999, with both graphics and text getting a revamp.

In four sections, the exhibition presents the argument that nuclear fusion could provide the world with virtually unlimited energy without causing environmental problems like the greenhouse effect. The sections consider:

- The problem of long term energy supply;
- How magnetic fusion works;
- Other approaches to fusion;
- Reactor and environmental aspects.

The revitalised exhibition, recently launched in Helsinki, Finland, now includes an iterative model of ITER, an interactive CD-ROM (available in all the official languages of the European Union), and a 3-D video which takes you 'flying through the ITER plant'.

To help explain the admittedly complex phenomena of nuclear physics, the exhibition employs the most simple language possible, graphics and cartoons. These make Fusion Expo accessible to children as well as to the public at large, says a representative of the European Commission's Research Directorate-General. There is also more detailed text provided for those interested.

A more concise exhibition on fusion research in the EU called 'Fusion Expo II' has also been touring around Europe since early 1998 and is available to loan free of charge. This also offers an overview of research in the European Union laboratories, but on a smaller scale than the main Fusion Expo. Public institutions, companies or higher education institutions that are interested in hosting this exhibition (for periods of up to two weeks) can pursue their enquiries at the address below.

Additionally, the interactive multimedia CD-ROM is now available from the Research Directorate-General. It begins with the energy problem and continues with explanations of theories of fusion, before explaining the ITER project.

Source: European Commission, Research Directorate-General

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