Fusion energy research began in the early 1950s as scientists worked to harness the awesome power of the atom for peaceful purposes. There was early optimism for a quick solution for fusion energy as there had been for fission. However, this was soon tempered by reality as the difficulty of producing and confining fusion fuel at temperatures of 100 million °C in the laboratory was appreciated. Fusion research has followed two main paths—inertial confinement fusion and magnetic confinement fusion. Over the past 50 years, there has been remarkable progress with both approaches, and now each has a solid technical foundation that has led to the construction of major facilities that are aimed at demonstrating fusion energy producing plasmas.