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Siobhan Smith - Culham Plasma Physics Summer School

Culham Plasma Physics Summer School - Culham Science Centre, UK
Reported by Siobhan Smith. Powered by FuseNet.

Lecutres and Tours
The days of the summer school were filled with interesting lectures covering many areas of plasma physics, including subjects such as magnetohydrodynamics and plasma kinetic theory, waves in plasmas, magnetic confinement fusion and inertial confinement fusion, plasma instabilities and low temperature plasmas. Especially noteworthy was a very interesting lecture on the history of fusion energy. Furthermore, we had a poster session where a prize was awarded for the best poster; around 20 of us had made posters to present our current work. On Monday of week 2 we were given a tour of the JET tokamak facilities. JET was running on the day and not visible behind the massive yellow concrete wall. However, they had the 9th octant of JET visible, a spare which they now use for testing things such as remote handling. We had the opportunity to visit the JET control room at the time they were running shots on JET, screens were showing the previous shot, which were quite amazing to watch. On the second Tuesday we visited RAL (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories), where we were given some interesting lectures on lasers and astrophysical plasmas; in the afternoon we had tours of the lasers - Vulcan and Dipole. During the afternoon of the second Wednesday we had a tour of MAST, which is in its upgrade stage before it continues to run in 2017. Therefore, we had to opportunity to see it in a deconstructed state.

  

The left photo shows the 9th octant of JET, while the right photo was taken during the MAST tour.

Social Events
A great thing about this summer school was the opportunity to make many new friends and network with people from all over the world. This was encouraged through the social events that were organised by the summer school. On the first Monday we all had a three course meal arranged for us. On the first Thursday a boat trip on the Thames had been planned, there was a DJ providing music; the trip ended with many plasma physicists dancing on a boat. On the final Thursday a meal had been organised at St Edmund’s College, where everybody went formally dressed.

Most of the students after the last meal.

Overall
This summer school was an amazing opportunity for me to learn about fusion energy, other areas of plasma physics and to visit the facilities at CCFE and RAL. I have met so many brilliant people, contacts that I will hopefully have for a long time, and  who I will hopefully get to meet again at plasma physics conferences and events in the future. I would like to say thank you to FuseNet for providing the funding to allow me to attend the summer school, I had a great two weeks.