A large screen was positioned above Ljubljanica, river of Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, in the downtown, showing a slideshow about fusion and attracting many visitors to the itinerant Fusion Expo which was held between 10th and 20th March 2009

Fusion has recently become a popular topic on the streets of Ljubljana. One of the radio stations carried out an interview with the head of the Slovenian Fusion Association and, for the purposes of demonstration, they asked people walking alongside the Ljubljanica, the city’s river, what fusion is. As well as the “don’t knows” and the various suggestions mentioning “diffusion”, “illusion” and the CERN accelerator, surprisingly, some people referred to atoms and energy for the future.

A week later and just a hundred metres away, a big announcement was hung over the street “Fusion, energy for the future” and, above the lazy flowing river, a large screen was positioned showing a slideshow with hundreds of pictures of the sun, blue sky, clean and polluted environments, various power plants, the interior of tokamaks etc. For the next two weeks, one couldn’t cross the Triple Bridge – one of the Ljubljana’s main attractions, without seeing the announcement. It was just what happened to Lan, the seven-year-old boy who screamed “Mummy! Look! The sun in the bulb glowing from water!” So they visited the town gallery, where artists usually present their work, but which currently houses amazing and miraculous things that encouraged Lan and his family to come back almost every afternoon.

After a short time, he could show and explain to elder people how the magnet deflects plasma in the “mellator” demonstration tool and suggest how to successfully perform the experiment in the microwave oven. He was, unfortunately, a bit on the short side to have a go at the “human power plant”, a bicycle connected to an array of light bulbs which start to flash when someone rides the bike and shows how much electric power is produced by this process. The bicycle was located outside the gallery and attracted attention as the visitors competed amongst each other to see who could produce the most electricity. It is not known, how much of the explanations of the young guides Lan understood, but it was definitely enough to make his own LEGO fusion power plant at home.

Lan was not the youngest visitor to the Fusion Expo in Ljubljana during this time, however. Several groups of four year olds passed by and entered and were obviously impressed by the plasma ball and amused by the magnets which were strong enough to make it very hard to touch them. Adults, many of them attracted by the Fusion 2100 and Starmak-ers movies presented in the window, and by the nice blue plasma observed inside, were also very impressed by the experiments presented. The explanations about plasma physics and ITER construction just entered into their minds.

But it seems that the exhibition was too short: The number of visitors stayed at over 300 per day right up until the last day. But the small gallery was ready to return to art again, and the young guides were ready to continue their investigations, and the exhibition need to continue its travels around Europe.

For more information on Fusion Expo please visit:


Saša Novak, Slovenian Fusion Association, EURATOM-MHEST