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Kornee Kleijwegt - Internship at Princeton University/IPPL

Reported by Kornee Kleijwegt. Powered by FuseNet

Last spring, I went to Princeton for my internship as part of my double Master’s degree “System & Control” and “Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion”. The Princeton University campus is located near a train station between New York City and Philadelphia. The old beautiful buildings make the campus look like a fairytale landscape. However, the PPPL campus where I worked, was less picturesque, and a more “functionally” designed campus. But the lack of beautiful architecture at PPPL is more than compensated by an overwhelming amount of inspiration, a place highly recommended for practicing science.

Working at PPPL
Last year a summer student (Leonard Lupin-Jimenez) made the start on a disruption predictor for the tokamak DIII-D. My assignment was to further explore the possibilities of making disruption predictions and improve the predictive capabilities on the data he used. Understanding the data, the DIII-D experiment and how a prediction should be made took some time. But quite fast I got the hang of it and the development of the code skyrocketed, just as the results of the code, day by day, after each run I saw improvement in the predictions. My supervisor, Professor Kolemen told me: ‘You should write a paper about this, and fast!’

During the process of writing, reviewing, re-reviewing, re- re-reviewing etcetera, I started to try making the same predictions on NSTX data. Maybe I was a bit naïve on the data acquisition part, since this turned out to be harder than I thought. In the mean time I helped another summer student working on an approach on how to predict high plasma current disruption using only low plasma current disruptive shots to make a prediction.

Note, this is extremely useful for operations in future big tokamaks such as ITER. Since disruption effects could be more harmfull than in current tokamaks such as DIII-D and NSTX. On ¾ of my internship I was selected to give a workshop at the ‘Theory and Simulation of Disruptions Workshop’.

Cycling in NYC
Cycling in New York City, in one word: fantastic. I recommend everybody to go cycling there. It is semi-bike friendly I’d say, but hey, that is from a Dutch perspective. Before I went to NYC for the first time a planned a route on Google Maps. Guided by the voice in my headphones I went from the Rockefeller, One World Memorial, the High-Line Park and more through Manhattan. After crossing Time Square my route planning made me cycle right over Broadway / 7th Ave, an interesting mistake. The street is crowded with cab drivers in a rush, cars and tourists everywhere. I had a great time cycling through New York City and Princeton is an amazing place to do an internship.