Nuclear basic elements like carbon, hydrogen, or helium. Atoms

Nuclear fusion is a naturally occurring phenomenon where the
atoms of an element physically merge to form a completely new element. A good
example of natural nuclear fusion is the sun. According to the World Nuclear
Association, “Fusion powers the Sun and stars as hydrogen atoms fuse together
to form helium, and matter is converted into energy… Hydrogen, heated to very
high temperatures change from a gas to a plasma in which the negatively-charged
electrons are separated from the positively-charged atomic nuclei or ions.” (“Fusion”).
Nuclear Fusion is a highly-coveted ability because the process of atoms fusing
together yields energy as a byproduct (“Fusion”). It is for this reason that
scientist have been experimenting with inducing nuclear fusion in effort to
take advantage of the energy it produces. An example of man-made nuclear fusion
is the hydrogen bomb, a weapon that utilizes the energy produced by fusion as
an explosive. Nuclear fusion is also sought after as an environment friendly
fuel source.

Atoms are the base units that make up all matter and define the
structure of basic elements like carbon, hydrogen, or helium. Atoms are
composed of three particles called protons, neutrons and electrons (Sharp). Neutrons
and protons contain more mass when compared to electrons and exist in in the
center of an atom, which is called the nucleus (Sharp). Electrons contain
significantly less mass compared to neutrons and protons and hover in a group
formation that is similar to a cloud and orbits the nucleus (Sharp). An
electron cluster will have a radius that is 10,000 times that of its nucleus (Sharp).
Neutrons and protons have roughly identical amounts of mass. In contrast, the
weight of 1 proton is equal to about 1,800 electrons (Sharp). Atoms always have
an equal amount of protons and electrons or positive and negative charge. The
amount of neutrons and protons are also usually equal. The addition of a proton
to an atom creates a completely new element and adding a neutron will create what
is called an isotope, in which the mass is greater than that of the former atom
(Sharp). The nucleus was discovered in 1911, but its components weren’t apparent
until 1932 (Sharp). Nearly 100% of the mass of an atom exists within the
nucleus. The nucleus is bound together by a force known as Strong Nuclear Force,
which is one of the four natural forces of the universe alongside gravity,
magnetism, and Weak Nuclear Force (Sharp). The force between the neutrons and
protons negates the repelling force of between protons that would normally push
the protons apart (Sharp). Protons are particles that carry positive charge and
reside within the nucleus alongside neutrons. Ernest Rutherford discovered protons
somewhere between 1911 and 1919 (Sharp). The amount of protons present in an
atom dictates the identity of the element it is. For instance, carbon atoms
contain six protons, hydrogen atoms contain one proton and oxygen atoms contain
eight protons (Sharp). The amount of protons present in an atom is called the
atomic number. The amount of protons present in an atom also defines the chemical
traits of that specific element (Sharp). The Periodic Table of the Elements organizes
elements from low atomic number to high atomic number (Sharp). Electrons border
the nucleus in loops of orbit similar to the moon and earth. There two layers
of loops, the inner and outer, the inner loops neighboring the atom are sphere-shaped
but the outer loops are very complex (Sharp). Neutrons are particles that lack
charge contained by the atom’s nucleus. The neutron has somewhat greater mass
then the proton (Sharp).

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 There are two main
contributors of all the information we know about nuclear fusion today. Those
two people are Albert Einstein and Hans Bethe. Hans Bethe was born on July 2,
1906, in Strasbourg, Germany (“Hans Bethe”). After losing his job at the
University of Tubingen when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis began to ascend to political
power, Bethe, who had a Jewish mother, escaped Germany in 1933 and fled to the
United States, and began a new job as a professor of physics at Cornell University
in 1935 (“Hans Bethe”). It was around this time that Bethe started researching
and examining the source of the solar energy from the sun and discovered the
process of fusion (“Hans Bethe”). He developed his skills and became one of the
most prominent theoretical physicists of his era (“Hans Bethe”). In 1967 Bethe won
the Nobel Prize for Physics. Albert Einstein was responsible for producing the
equation . This equation defined the
relationship between the energy produced during nuclear fusion and the mass of
the fusing atoms as the same thing, meaning that mass could be converted into
energy.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the use of nuclear
fusion. One of those disadvantages are nuclear weapons. After World War II had
come to an end Hans Bethe worked on the development of the hydrogen bomb which
got its destructive power from nuclear fusion (“Hans Bethe”). Two Atomic bombs,
which are based on a process derived from nuclear fusion called nuclear
fission, were used against japan in retaliation for the bombings of Pearl
Harbor. These attacks had a wide range of devastating effects on the Japanese
cities Nagasaki and Hiroshima from the destruction of homes and communities to
the deaths of several Japanese civilians. In contrast, nuclear fusion also has
some advantages like providing an ecofriendly fuel source through the use
fusion reactors. Fusion reactors aim to exploit the energy produced by nuclear
fusion in the form of heat. They then utilize this heat to operate steam powered
generators that produce massive amounts of electricity. This creates a fuel
source that produces no air pollution, less nuclear waste than other sources
such as gasoline or fossil fuels, and is in great abundance. Fusion is also
used in some of the rockets that spaceships used lift off the earth.

Overall
nuclear fusion offers some very efficient advantages. Nuclear power plants are
expensive to build but are moderately cheap to run and operate. In many places,
nuclear power is in competition with fossil fuels as a source of electricity
generation (“Fusion”). Italy used to be in use of four operating nuclear power
reactors but shut the last two down because of the Chernobyl accident. Approximately
10% of the electricity used in Italy is produced from nuclear power (“Fusion”).
With increasing success in experiments with nuclear fission a 100% nuclear
fusion plant is right around the corner. Nuclear fusion is the future of fuel
and energy production as we know it.