1. Rod – thanks for this post, and welcome back! I look forward to your upcoming posts.

    A tiny niggle – the neutron generator is a “neuTristor”, not a “neuristor”. The term “neuristor” is used by the computer and electronics community for devices that act like neurons; the hope is to build high speed neural networks that emulate neural ganglia and brains. I was momentarily quite confused, but the story you linked to cleared that up.

  2. That technology for generating neutrons is new to me, though I have been aware for a long time of the alpha emmitter plus berylium neutrons generators that have been around since the 1930s.

    One interesting application of those is well logging in the oil industry where they look for the interactions of the neutrons with the rocks surrounding a borehole to determine what kind of rock is at what depth. As a geophysicist I had known about this, but only when I heard this podcast, http://www.scienceforthepeople.ca/episodes/bruno-pontecorvo , did I learn that the Bruno Pontecorvo had pioneered the technique in the late 1930s & early 1940s before being recruited for the atomic bomb project.

    A side note of personal interest as that I should be 3 degrees of separation from him, since Pontecorvo worked at the Chalk River labs in the 1940s & my father worked there in the 1950s, so they would have both known people who worked there in both periods.

  3. @JohnGalt
    Perhaps, but I’m not qualified to teach any of them. Since I’m quite ancient, I’m not eligible to be a student either.

  4. The second topic, “Energy, Conservation, and Green Technology,” was already covered in the TIP summer program. Please see “Through the Wormhole: The Past, Present, and Future of Science Fiction.”

    1. Now, now – there’s certainly real science about those topics. Better insulation materials and building construction techniques, LED and LCD lightbulbs, nuclear energy including current generation designs and next-gen designs. Better battery technology for electric cars being developed based on new nano-materials such as graphene, cabon nanotubes, etc.

  5. The neutristor even looks a bit like the pictures of the early bipolar transistors developed around 1947. Maybe the old science fiction movies with the neutron ray guns are not too far off. Perhaps nuclear reactors will be controlled like electrical amplifiers in the future rather than the crude motion of control rods.

    This may a be a good product from a government sponsored lab.

    Thanks for sharing this information. Those kids could not have had a better instructor.

  6. “teaching 17 really smart young people for six hours per day, 5 days a week plus 3 more hours on Saturday”

    I’m super impressed. That’s a lot of effort!

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