Author Archives: Robert L. Hirsch


This article is in Summit on Human Gene Editing, Spring 2016

Purposeful science In “Fact Check: Scientific Research in the National Interest Act” (Issues, Winter 2016), Congressman Lamar Smith critiques the concerns presented by Democrats, scientists, and a number of social science associations about his bill, H.R. 3293. As proposed, the bill confuses the nature of basic science and adds bureaucracy that would impose a layer […]

Fusion Research: Time to Set a New Path

This article is in Educating the Worker of the Future, Summer 2015

The inherent limitations of the tokamak design for fusion power will prevent it from becoming commercially viable, but the lessons from this effort can inform future research. Burning wood was an important source of energy for early humankind, because it had no competition, no cost concerns, and manageable environmental issues. Over time, new energy sources […]

Fusion Research with a Future

This article is in The U.S. Fusion Program at the Crossroads, Summer 1997

It’s time for the U.S. program to abandon its dead-end focus and to explore alternative paths to practical fusion power. Major shifts are taking place in the U.S. fusion research program, driven primarily by reductions in federal funding. In the past, the program was dedicated almost completely to developing practical fusion power. Today, the program […]

Peaking Oil Production: Sooner Rather Than Later?

This article is in Population Health: The Big Picture, Spring 2005

Oil production will begin to decline in the near future. Beginning to prepare now will soften the blow to the economy. World demand for oil continues to increase, but Earth’s endowment of oil is finite. Accordingly, geologists know that at some future date, conventional oil supply will no longer be capable of satisfying world demand; […]