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Fusion scientists

  1. Jun 9, 2006 #1
    Quick question. Are physicists and engineers who work on designing fusion reactors generally well versed in both inertial confinement fusion and magnetic confinement fusion, or are they two separate subfields altogether.
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  3. Jun 10, 2006 #2


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    There are substantial differences, obviously, between the two fields but physicists in each of them tend to keep up with developments in the other and have at least a rudimentary knowledge of its technical details. Having said that, it would likely require rather significant effort to jump from research in one to the other. A good engineer could make the transition much more easily, IMO.
  4. Jun 10, 2006 #3


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    I agree with Tide - a nuclear engineer studying fusion should be versed in both approaches.

    Magnetic confinement requires a good deal of plasma physics of low density plasmas. The maximum pressure is constrained by the strongest achievable magnetic field.

    Inertial confinement requires knowledge of beam physics, as well as the physics of ablation and compression, which afterall is a special application of thermodynamics/kinematics. The plasma densities are much higher than those achieved in magnetic confinement.

    Morbius has posted some good links to LLNL's program on ICF, but here is another tutorial on ICF - http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/thyd/icf/IFE.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Jun 10, 2006 #4


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    Here's another good link from the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the
    University of Rochester:



    As well as some more from LLNL:

    http://www.llnl.gov/pao/WYOP/Fusion_Energy.html [Broken]





    http://www.llnl.gov/pao/WYOP/Scientists.html [Broken]

    The last link profiles some of the scientists involved. Some may
    recognize Tammy Jernigan because she is a NASA astronaut:


    The "sky's the limit" for a career in science!

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Jul 15, 2006 #5
    IME, not really, but it will depend on the individual. The group I'm working with is currently designing a new tokamak. While the design of this machine is being done almost entirely from within the group, with some outside help from a couple of other groups with tokamaks similar to what we are looking to build, I have no doubt that we would have almost no idea where to start on designing an ICF system, and certainly no expertise. Most of my knowledge about ICF comes from a NOVA poster that we have up on the wall in our conference room.
  7. Sep 1, 2006 #6
    During our plasma lecture today, it was commented how there is some level of rivalry between the magnetic and inertial confinement camps. I was also suprised to be informed that the milestones of fusion research are scarcely recognised outside of the fusion community, even within the plasma community...perhaps it was all those promises of fusion power being available by now.
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