The Star Builders:
Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet

UK cover

US cover

Arthur’s first book is The Star Builders (August 2021). In it, he tells the remarkable stories of the scientists who have dedicated their lives to achieving a seemingly impossible feat: building a star on Earth.

These engineers, physicists, and mathematicians aim to recreate the source of the Sun’s energy, nuclear fusion, in a controlled way, within a reactor. They have to contend with mysterious types of matter, giant lasers, secretive start-ups, and the most powerful forces in the Universe. Building a star on our home planet may sound like a risky enterprise, but these scientists think that — far from being fraught with danger — building a star could just save the planet by providing carbon free power for millions, or even billions, of years.

The Star Builders is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the Commonwealth (including the UK), by LEDA in the Czech Republic, and by Scribner in the United States.

Here are some of the bookstores where you can order copies (but remember to ask at your local bookstore too!)

Would you like to see your bookstore here? Just let me know the name of your store and send a link to a page where people can order The Star Builders.

Praise for The Star Builders

...this physicist was impressed by the ease with which Turrell accurately presents the basics of fission, fusion and plasmas in popular-style prose... Star Builders presents a timely, extremely informative and highly readable survey of today's fusion landscape, and convincingly demonstrates that we must pursue the goal of energy from fusion.

—Nature Physics

"recommended reading"

—Nature Physics (editorial)

"[A] thoroughly researched, yet accessible book ... Turrell's enthusiasm for the topic, as well as his clear and easy-to-understand explanations of the physics involved in nuclear fusion, make this a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in learning about the cutting-edge technology that's being applied to solving the climate crisis."

—Library Journal

“Every crisis has its possible miracle cure. And the ultimate cure for our energy woes would be nuclear fusion, the same process that makes stars shine….In his new book the plasma physicist and science writer Arthur Turrell [writes of] "star builders," the researchers and engineers who want to create a small star on Earth….While Turrell withholds judgment on which of the different fusion technologies might be most promising, he freely offers an optimistic outlook for the future of fusion power and is adamant about the need to invest in it.”

—The New York Times

“An expert account of the immense international research effort to develop practical nuclear fusion...Important, high-quality popular science.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“In an impressively reported debut, plasma physicist Turrell surveys the global development of nuclear fusion as an energy source… Readers will find plenty of answers—and optimism—about the future of fusion here.”

—Publishers Weekly

“A gobsmackingly good read…. Turrell’s portraits of the undaunted star-building scientists who are trying to make fusion a reality are not just compelling but, dare I say it, fun. I learned a lot by reading this book. You will, too.”

—Robert Bryce, author of A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

“Visionary thinkers have sketched a future of sustainable abundance based on skillful use of nuclear fusion, the process that powers the stars. Can we get there? How? When? The Star Builders surveys this vibrant frontier of science and technology clearly and realistically. It brings a timely, hopeful message.”

—Frank Wilczek, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and author of Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality

“What I love about this book is how easily Turrell forgives us for having forgotten the promise of fusion. He makes a convincing case that fusion could be the missing puzzle piece as we struggle to find the perfect complement for renewables. His enthusiasm brings decades of careful scientific research to life, even as the scientists whose work he traces bring fusion to the cusp of fruition.”

—Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

“Incredibly readable and entertaining. The book’s first-hand accounts of what is occurring inside fusion startups are especially enthralling. Turrell skillfully tells the fascinating story of the personalities, science, and technology that have brought this fledging industry to the point of takeoff.”

—Jason Parisi, coauthor of The Future of Fusion Energy

“Painstakingly researched. Turrell gives us a front-row seat to the hard-fought race for fusion, and he offers convincing reasons for optimism. In fact, he shows us a galaxy of effort being directed toward ‘building a star.’”

—James Mahaffey, author of Atomic Adventures

“Arthur Turrell captures the excitement of the race to produce the first commercial fusion energy—perhaps the most important technological race of all.”

—Sir Steven Cowley, director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory