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A Tale of Two Conferences

It has been some time since my last blog post; I've been busy. After returning from my collaboratory, I set about busily preparing for the month ahead. I made modifications to my computer code, extending it into a spatial dimension and promptly set one of our institute's computer clusters running it.

I then prepared a talk for an upcoming Fusion Frontiers conference. This is a week-long event, with students from all the universities in our Doctoral Training Network coming to York. We had some excellent expert speakers from all aspects of fusion research invited to talk for the first three days and closed up with student talks. I gave my colleagues an overview of short wavelength lasers during my talk. Overall, it was a very interesting week – these events always make me feel very much a part of a knowledgeable scientific community and it's great to catch up with my friends from other universities, or those York students that live and work at Culham permanently.

After that week, my initial simulations were finished and I included the results in a poster for another conference. I was off back to Fort Collins, Colorado, for the International Conference on X-Ray Lasers and their applications. Well, a big event deserves a big title. Another very interesting event; I received some worthwhile feedback on my research and some things to look at for the future.

I stayed on for another week working on the capillary laser and to attempt to take some visible light spectra. Unfortunately, the research trip was beset by problems at every turn. The spectrometer I brought with me, as it turned out, was already in the process of breaking when I received it – during the trip it had malfunctioned completely and it took quite some elbow grease and head scratching to fix it again. Then, disaster struck as a malfunction caused an electric arc which literally blew up the capillary and caused an oil leak into a high-vacuum system. I was helping out on cleaning duty for a couple of days. When that was sorted, we attempted to take some visible spectra of an argon discharge lamp used in another experiment. We managed to succeed only after another high-voltage arc had knocked out all the USB ports on a PC we were using and we fixed those. This left no time to take ablation spectra as I had hoped, but it was a productive trip nonetheless!

As I travelled back from Colorado once more, my paper had been accepted and was published on the 5th of June. I'm now almost done writing a proceedings article for ICXRL and will be starting some new theoretical work shortly.

On excursion to the Rocky Mountains during ICXRL