Eye witness report from the fusenet Phd event at IPP Garching, part 2
FUSENET funded an event in IPP Garching that allows Ph.D students to network and learn from each others' work. One of the Ph.D students present, Stuart Henderson, reports:
And so the ITER generation began the last day of the first FUSENET event. I managed a few croissants to prepare myself for the first talk which looked marginally daunting - being told that the reality that Fusion may be forgotten about by the public unless we act now!
In more detail, the first talk was given by an ex-plasma physicist now turned European policy advisor. To describe his talk, I will sum it up using his quote: Fusion has missed its appointment with history ...
But, all is not lost. We must keep the public fascinated by our results, and sell every last graph we can muster up out of our little IDL (MATLAB) codes. It was a wakeup call. We can't just sit back in our cosy seats provided by our institutes. The public must know, the show must go on, and all that jazz.
After that inspiring talk, and a few cups of precious caffeine and biscuits (excellent choice of biscuits I might add - kudos IPP), we headed for the second round of posters. Today, I was observing rather than presenting. It was nice to get the chance to see the interesting results each student had on show. Perhaps a shame we only had an hour to get round each persons work.
At lunch, I sampled what I thought was a ball of mashed potato; turned out to be made of something like pasta (I know, I'm so cultured ...). It was thankfully, a nice surprise. Well, I finished it anyway - Läkey wasn't so keen.
To finish off, two lectures were given firstly on career opertunities and then secondly on the NIF or NIC developments. The former was, to be fair, a hard talk to give with a tough crowd (give us jobs - with lots of money!). But, I personally found it very useful. There was material which I didn't know about, and there were also a few slides which I had seen, but helped remind me the art of writing talks and CV. Infact, one tip I will share - don't finish your talk with "Thanks for listening".
After this, the tone in the room dropped when we heard fusion will solved before the ITER generation has time to even takes its first baby step. Yes, that's right, Inertial fusion energy will fly in to save the day in dramatic fashion, probably in 10 years ...
We'll see, but good luck to them though.
To finish off we sat around the 'round' table in our suits of fusion armour and discussed the last two days. It began in silence, which in fairness was an apt response as in whole it was very well run, and the talks set the right tone. The discussions transcended into talks of astronomy and facebook groups - you had to be there I think. In overview, the two days definitely helped open my eyes to what actually goes on in 'reality' and made me realise that IDL simulations don't count for everything. And my wallet now has a few more business cards to pad out my pockets. Definitely a worthwhile event.
"Thanks for listening" ...