Energy & Power
The Museum's collections on energy and power illuminate the role of fire, steam, wind, water, electricity, and the atom in the nation's history. The artifacts include wood-burning stoves, water turbines, and windmills, as well as steam, gas, and diesel engines. Oil-exploration and coal-mining equipment form part of these collections, along with a computer that controlled a power plant and even bubble chambers—a tool of physicists to study protons, electrons, and other charged particles.
A special strength of the collections lies in objects related to the history of electrical power, including generators, batteries, cables, transformers, and early photovoltaic cells. A group of Thomas Edison's earliest light bulbs are a precious treasure. Hundreds of other objects represent the innumerable uses of electricity, from streetlights and railway signals to microwave ovens and satellite equipment.
"Energy & Power - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This is one section of a laser amplifier tube from the Shiva experimental fusion apparatus, operated at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1978 through 1981. Scientists used the Shiva device to test theories about how lasers might be used to trigger a nuclear fusion reaction. The research program was part of the continuing quest to harness nuclear fusion as a source of energy.
- Lasers are useful in this type of research since they emit a narrow beam of intense radiation. Shiva focused the energy of twenty laser beams on a tiny target of nuclear fuel to determine how the fuel would react. This amplifier tube is a short section of one of the twenty beam paths and contains panels made of neodymium glass that focus the light beam.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center