So why should we believe LPP is as close as they say they are? A good way to judge a scientists credibility is to get some perspective from other scientists in the field we already know are credible. A recent review by a scientific committee led by Dr. Robert L. Hirsch, a former director of fusion research for the US Atomic Energy Commission and the Energy Research and Development Agency, concluded their review with these statements:
“The committee was pleasantly surprised at the innovative thinking and experimental results achieved thus far by Mr. Lerner and his team at LPP. We commend him for developing a theoretical model to guide the effort. In the committee’s view, their approach to fusion power based on their DPF findings to date is worthy of a considerable expansion of effort.
While a number of near-term physics issues remain to be resolved, it is likely that with adequate financial support, these matters could be addressed in a relatively short period of time, e.g., a few years. Further effort in this area is definitely justified.”
LPP was originally funded by NASA until NASA dropped funding for all fusion research in 2001. Since then, they have turned to private investors and raised 3 million dollars (very little in the scheme of things).
Of course, LPP has their fair share of skeptics but that’s to be expected in the field of fusion and we encourage open-minded skepticism. It is fair to say this is interesting research, nonetheless. And the only way to know for sure if this will work is to test the science through experimentation. That’s exactly what LPP is doing and their planned future experiments are a BIG deal because they predict they can reach net energy.