In the south of France, scientists from 37 countries are building the most complex machine ever attempted: an artificial sun. If they get it right, it will illuminate the way to produce clean, cheap, abundant energy for millions of years. If they fail, it will be one of the biggest scientific failures of all time.
Nuclear fusion has been the holy grail of energy for many decades now. It’s the process that drives stars, the ultimate source of energy in the universe. The possibility that fusion might be achievable on Earth as an energy source has driven scientists to the edge of reason for almost a century.