DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Conceptual fractal illustration of nuclear fusion, the process that creates new atomic nuclei from pre-existing nucleons, primarily protons and neutrons. Fusion happens when two or more atomic nuclei collide at a very high speed and join to form a new type of atomic nucleus, or nucleosynthesis. Fusion is the process that powers active or "main sequence" stars like our sun. The laboratory fusion of hydrogen isotopes was first accomplished by Mark Oliphant in 1932. A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Research into fusion for military purposes began in the early 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project. Fusion was accomplished in 1951 with the Ivy Mike hydrogen bomb test. Fractals are infinitely complex mathematical patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.
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