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Alexander S. Christensen - 52nd Culham Summer School

Summer School at Culham
Report by Alexander Simon Christensen. Powered by FuseNet

In my daily work plasma is something that exists inside a tokamak. But this summer I learned a lot more about where other plasmas appear and what they are used for. I attended the 52nd  Culham Plasma physics Summer School for two weeks and had a blast from beginning to end.

The numerous lectures presented a variety of topics. In the first week we covered general plasma theory and applications; this includes kinetic theory, magnetohydrodynamics and waves in plasmas, and it was shown how theory connected to the real world in lectures on magnetic and inertial confinement fusion, space plasmas and industrial and low-temperature plasmas.

In the second week more focus was towards specific research topics such as instabilities, transport and turbulence, heating and current drive and diagnostics. We also went out of the lecture rooms and into the real world of applied plasma physics as we got to visit actual research facilities. We went to see both JET and MAST located at Culham, and also got a tour on Rutherford Appleton Laboratory - one of the World's leading laser facilities.

Besides the lectures and visits to research facilities, the organizers had also arranged a great dinner the first evening, a boat trip on river Thames later on the week, and a wonderful banquet in one of the old dining halls. The approximately 50 students of the summer school represented 16 different nationalities and various fields in plasma research. Both in the breaks and outside the school hours existed a dynamical social environment, and many new friendships were founded during the trips around the town and evenings at restaurants and pubs.

Looking back I'm very happy about going to the summer school and will strongly recommend all PhD-students in plasma physics to do the same. I went home with new knowledge, great experiences and made many friends whom I am hoping to see again at the FuseNet PhD event in November and at future conferences.