Thomas A Ligon

Thomas A. Ligon Jr. Education: B.S., Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1975, with option in Health Physics. 1974 Undergraduate Research Award, Society of the Sigma Xi. B.S., Engineering Technology, Electrical, VPI&SU, 1978. With a background in electronics, chemical kinetics, biology, health physics, and aviation, Tom Ligon is a technical jack of all trades. He believes Heinlein’s adage, “Specialization is for insects.” If he does have one specialty, it is test-rigging. From computer data acquisition to carpentry, Tom has a knack for piecing together sophisticated tests from ordinary parts and materials. In 1995, that background made him the right person at the right time to join with R. W. Bussard at the Energy-Matter Conversion Corporation, helping to re-start an earlier effort at proving the Polywell concept for producing controlled nuclear fusion. Not long after joining EMC2, Dr. Bussard suggested Tom should tap one of his other talents, writing, to tell the world about Inertial Electrostatic Fusion. And so, Tom wrote an article called “The World’s Simplest Fusion Reactor”, which was published in the December 1998 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. The article won the Analab award for best fact article of the year. At Dr. Bussard’s suggestion, the article recommended the Hirsch-Farnsworth Fusor as a good high-school science project. Largely as a result of that article, an amateur fusion movement was born, and at least eight high-school students have made fusion to date. One of them, Michael Li, won second place in the 2003 Intel Science Talent Search. Now Tom is helping Dr. Bussard spread the word about successful tests of Dr. Bussard’s reactor run in November 2005. Dr. Bussard believes he has achieved proof of concept for the reactor, and is ready to scale it up. If successful, this technology should be ideal for space propulsion, as well as terrestrial power production.

Broadcast 1279 (Special Edition)

Guests: Tom Ligon; Michael Simon. Topics: Polywell fusion, fusion, space propulsion. Tom Ligon returned to The Space Show and we welcomed Michael Simon to update us on the Dr. Bussard fusion program with Polywell Fusion and more. We started our first segment with an overview of Dr. Bussard's fusion work.. Our gusts brought us current with the status of the EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation and explained Polywell Fusion, the concept of using Proton Boron-11 (PB-11) fuel, along with the idea of using HE3 on the Moon.

Broadcast 709 (Special Edition)

Tom Ligon was the guest for this Space Show program to discuss fusion and the work of Dr. Robert Bussard. We were surprised about half-way through the program when Dr. Robert Bussard called the program and joined in our discussion. We started the discussion with Tom with an explanation of Inertial Electrostatic Fusion and the work of Dr. Bussard. One listener asked a question about how fusion could be possible with students using desktop reactors for science contests given the high temperatures this listener considered essential for fusion reaction. Tom explained that the Dr.

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