Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

You are here

Jeffery Zielinski - 8th Festival de Theorie

Festival de Théorie 2015 - Aix en Provence, France
Report by Jeffery Zielinski. Powered by FuseNet

The Festival de Théorie is a biannual academic gathering on theoretical plasma physics which takes place in Aix-en-Provence, France.  For three weeks, some of the most esteemed theoreticians and researchers in the field gather and discuss a wide variety of subjects related to a common theme.  This year, that theme was “Pathways to Relaxation”, and the topics covered a range of phenomena in fusion, stellar, and laboratory plasmas, along with some talks about relaxation phenomena in other systems. 

Jeffery Zielinski

The organization of the event offers excellent educational opportunities for researchers and students in particular.  At the beginning of each day, an invited presenter offers a thorough lecture on some of the most interesting work they have encountered in recent history.  These lectures are intended to be quite advanced, and can leave students a little unclear on the specifics.  Fortunately, at the end of each day, an additional session dedicates 2.5+ hours for those looking to develop a firm base-level understanding of that day’s primary lecture.  Voluntary homework is also offered to ensure that interested individuals can take full advantage of their proximity to the leaders in their field.  The mid-day sessions are generally shorter talks, however there are a number of discussion sessions and impromptu reviews of results which keeps the atmosphere varied.  This daily cycle allows those who cannot make it for the full three weeks to take advantage of whatever time period which would be most fruitful for them.

Over the week for which I participated, one of the most interesting concepts involved the determination of singular Casimir elements for noncanonical Hamiltonian systems.  This was presented by Yoshida Zensho, and in addition to introducing me to the concept of Casimir invariants, offered a lot of clarity on the underlying framework of Hamiltonian dynamics.  Another of my preferred contributions was presented by Abarzhi Snezhana, who began by discussing the role of the interface in Rayleigh Taylor mixing, then went through a novel solution for the flow in a flame front.  This solution simply and elegantly recovered the standard Landau solution along with including the existence of (physically realized) stable states. 

Place de la Rotonde, Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence provides an excellent setting for the event, with ample outdoor activities in the neighboring areas to take part in on the weekend, and a pleasant but lively city atmosphere for the weekdays.  I would certainly recommend this event for anyone interested in the more mathematical aspects of plasma physics.