Robert Bussard

Robert W. Bussard

Born August 11, 1928 in Washington DC and died on October 6, 2007 in Santa Fe, NM; Robert W. Bussard was a well known physicist, particularly to science fiction fans. In his memory, here are some of the articles that he wrote or was interviewed.

  • “Physicist Known for Pursuits into Fusion Energy,” by Anne Constable, The Santa Fe New Mexican, November 4, 2007 (with additional commentary)
  • “Robert Bussard Interview,” by K.C. Cole, Omni Magazine, January 1981
  • “A Starship is Born,” by Robert W. Bussard, Science Digest, May 1983
  • “A Novel Approach to Nuclear Fusion,” by Niles Howard, Duns Business Month, November 1983
  • Chapter 7 (The Entrepreneurs) from “The Man-Made Sun — The Quest for Fusion Power,” by Thomas A. Heppenheimer, 1984
  • Excerpt from “Fusion: The Search for Endless Energy,” by Robin Herman, 1990, Cambridge University Press, pg. 193-196
  • “Life in the Galaxy,” by Robert W. Bussard, Far Frontiers, Volume II, April 1985
  • “The Nuclear Energy Solution (Light Element Fusion),” by Robert W. Bussard, Financial World, June 24, 1986
  • “Letter to Congress,” by Robert Bussard, June 6, 1995
  • “Robert W. Bussard’s Last Interview,” by Tim Ventura, transcript by Mark Duncan, December 8, 2007
  • “Concepts for Future Nuclear Rocket Propulsion,” by Robert Bussard, Jet Propulsion, April 1958

In his last interview, Robert Bussard made reference to the following article as to why non-tokamak fusion research finds it difficult to attract funding.

  • “The Trouble with Fusion,” by Lawrence M. Lidsky, MIT Technology Review, October 1983, pp. 32-44.
  • “Fusion Research With a Future,” by Robert Hirsch, Gerald Kulcinski, and Ramy Shanny, Issues in Science and Technology, Summery 1997 (Robert Bussard has a letter to the editor at the end of the article)
  • “Fusion Energy: the Agony, the Ecstasy and Alternatives,” by John Perkins, Physics World, November 1997

Bussard Interstellar Ramjet

The Science Digest article, “A Starship is Born” cites the following Robert Forward article in which the Bussard interstellar ramjet is discussed in more detail. The original 1960 Bussard interstellar ramjet paper follows, along with a 1975 paper discussing how to improve its efficiency.

  • “A Program for Interstellar Exploration,” by Robert L. Forward, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Volume 29, pp. 611-632, 1976. (Reformatted and updated with color illustrations, December 2007)
  • “Galactic Matter and Interstellar Flight,” By Robert W. Bussard, Astronautica Acta, 1960, Volume 6, Fasc. 4. (Reformatted and updated with color illustrations, February 2008, minor updates May 2009)
  • “Relativistic Spaceflight and the Catalytic Nuclear Ramjet,” By Daniel P. Whitmire, Astronautica Acta, 1975, Volume 2, pp. 497-509 (Reformatted and updated with color illustrations, May 2009)

Dr. Bussard investigated cold fusion and wrote the following paper:

  • “Virtual State Internal Nuclear Fusion in Metal Lattices,” by Robert W. Bussard, Fusion Technology, Volume 16, September 1989.

A retrospective of nuclear fusion progress from 1950 to 1982 with emphasis on work at Princeton University.

  • “Recreating the Power of the Sun,” by Jeremy Bernstein, New York Times, January 3, 1982