Through the grief of those closest to Dr Bussard some details are coming out. Dr. Bussard was a cancer victim of two kinds who was in the last weeks enduring radiation and chemotherapy for the disease.
Reports are he worked continuously while in treatment and assembled a good team to continue the research and development of the IEC fusion method he has been developing from funding provided by the US Department of Defense.
When funding for the research resumed Dr. Bussard attracted a friend who is a PhD plasma physicist recently working at Los Alamos and a PhD whose experience is in experimentation. Some staff from the previous lab in San Diego are on their way to join the team.
Dr. Bussard’s friends assert that he did everything he could to ensure that the work on IEC fusion will continue.
This morning M. Simon at Power and Control Blogspot posted an excellent eulogy that contains a brief list of some of Dr, Bussard’s most noteworthy work and a strong link list. See:
Of note, Dr. Bussard was a trained engineer and added physics expertise as working requirements demanded until he became the preeminent magnetic confinement physicist/engineer in the field. Dr. Bussard gained famed in his youth for his design of the Bussard Collector that is often referred to in futuristic science stories.
Mid career Dr. Bussard was Assistant Director at the Controlled Thermodynamic Reaction Division of the Atomic Energy Commision, one of the forerunning federal agencies of the Department of Energy.
Late career saw Dr. Bussard working on the Inertial Electrodynamic Confinement also commonly referred to by the anagram of IEC or the common term “polywell” that has been through six development phases and has entered the seventh. Many physicists and engineers believe that the insights and research of Dr. Bussard have developed the best and most likely to become practical and commonly used devices to bring the potential of nuclear fusion to mankind.
We wish to express our regrets at Dr. Robert W. Bussard’s passing and extend our sympathy and heartfelt compassion to those family members, friends, co-workers, students and so many others touched by this generous and unassuming man. His lasting legacy may well be the discovery of the physics and engineering that makes energy a common, abundant and low cost resource for mankind.