Set controls for the heart of the sun

Imperial College London's Dr Arthur Turrell and Dr Brian Appelbe hosted our first Twitter Q&A on 23 June 2014 where they talked about recreating the heart of the sun at the Royal Society's major exhibition, Summer Science 2014.


  1. When we asked the scientists exhibiting at Summer Science 2014 to tell us how exactly they are recreating the heart of the sun, they replied: "Using a laser, Orion, more powerful than the UK national grid". We were more than intrigued and so were you. In the highlights of our first Twitter Q&A, Imperial College London's Dr Arthur Turrell and Dr Brian Appelbe explain how understanding the extreme conditions at the sun's core could help us to harness star power on Earth.
  2. The two physicists were keen to show off a cool picture of their futuristic-looking demo laser, although it raised practical considerations from the audience...
  3. Moving on, Arthur asked if anyone had any ideas what the sun was made of. Solid, liquid or gas? Or something entirely different? @Natwittle thought the sun was gas, but wanted to know what else was made of star stuff? 
  4. From plasma to solar flares, space weather became a topic of conversation more difficult to answer in 140 characters. 
  5. The physics of stars gave rise to some interesting questions about other phenomena here on Earth. 
  6. Arthur and Brian had a stunning example to show of a plasma phenomenon closer to home...
  7. Getting back on topic, how far off are we from recreating a sun on Earth and harnessing its power for energy? 
  8. Our physicists agreed it's a long-term project with many challenges lying ahead. For example, what infrastructure would we need to put in place?