This was my first visit to the ITER site to meet with our collaborators, so I thought I’d record a few impressions whilst I wait for my plane at Marseilles airport.
A new paper shows that an attractive form of nuclear fusion is more practical than previously thought. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s still hard!
We’ve got a new paper out, based on some work done at MAGPIE shortly before I left. Instead of using the full one million amps to drive something using MAGPIE, we used a smaller pulsed-power device to produce a plume of plasma using a ‘plasma gun’.
I’ve been taking the U-Bahn to work for the last few days as my bike has been broken, so every day I get to walk passed the IPP library. Prominently displayed on a little stand, all alone in the middle of a table, was a new book with the bold title “The Future of Fusion Energy”. My interest was piqued, even more so as the book is written by two fusion researchers [Jason Parisi and Justin Ball] rather than science journalists – I was interested to see how they tried to make this complex topic accessible to the general public.
After five and a half years working at Imperial College, I decided it was time for a change. I’d already applied for some positions in Paris the previous year, but was unsuccessful, and so I broadened the scope of my search and found a job at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) near Munich in Germany.
My last blog post focused on new hardware for magnetic reconnection experiments. Since then, I’ve published two new papers using this hardware, as well as an improved version which allows us to study reconnection whilst varying the plasma density and magnetic field strength.
Since handing in my PHD thesis in March, I’ve been working as a Research Assistant (Post Doc) in MAGPIE. At first I was helping out others with their experiments and getting back into the flow of things, but yesterday I had the chance to try out some new hardware I’d made to do magnetic reconnection experiments.
Some thoughts on how to write a PhD thesis, from someone who just finished doing so.
The Aurora is one of the most beautiful phenomena in the solar system, and it is intrinsically linked to an elegant and ubiquitous process called Magnetic Reconnection.
My colleague Guy Burdiak has been working on making magnets for MAGPIE since I arrived at Imperial College, and yesterday I had a chance to help him out with the final winding process.