Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

Mila Aung-Thwin, Van Royko | 
Canada |
 2017 | 
80 minutes

Many physicists and scientists believe the only hope for future life on Earth is fusion. This is the story of the most complex machine ever invented, the hydrogen fusion energy facility, currently being built out of a million pieces in southern France. ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), a public project funded by a coalition of countries, will either solve our energy problems or be the most expensive failure in history.

Progress has slowed due to political considerations as well as scientific challenges. Meanwhile, funding has also dwindled. A couple of small private companies are trying to use outsider creative thinking to achieve the goal of fusion. Will their lack of bureaucracy and streamlined operations allow them to succeed while ITER lags? Will this be a story of the triumph of the little guy? Is fusion a scam or a pipe dream? American journalist Charles Seife offers some essential historical context, sketching out the big picture examination of fusion, including the concept of a fusion conman!

Let There Be Light explains the complex science needed to make this theoretical process become a reality. Science, history, politics, and visionary personalities combine with panache to achieve just the right ‘planetarium’ feel without getting cheesy. Archival footage and animation are also employed to great visual (and often hilarious) effect. Buckle up for a journey beyond the frontiers of science and technology with some sexy sub-particles. The stakes couldn’t get any higher. -KR