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How to get in on Nuclear Fusion Development

  1. Jan 10, 2013 #1
    Hey guys.
    I've recently developed an intense interest in nuclear fusion, and I was wondering what sort of majors would be relevant/helpful to a facility conducting research in that area (like ITER in France).
    I'm a freshman at Johns Hopkins U, and unfortunately there isn't a major in Nuclear Engineering.
    My current major is Materials Science and Engineering, but I'm also looking at Electrical or Computer Engineering (freshman indecisiveness).
    Does anyone have any advice/words of caution? Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    Nuclear Fusion R&D would be a post-grad study - so you'd start by finding a college that offers this as part f their post-grad program and take the courses they tell you to. For you, this will likely mean changing Colleges at some point - seek advise on the best time to do that with your target college... you may be able to do it in your honors year.

    You current program appears very vocational and practical - and heading away from fusion so you have some soul-searching to do. Presumably the engineering program includes some pure science papers? Look ahead in the prospectus to see what JHU does in terms of nuclear physics and support papers at the undergrad level. Look for scholarship programs to other colleges etc.
  4. Jan 11, 2013 #3
    Nuclear Fusion research is conducted under plasma physics so you might be want to look into the physics program at Johns Hopkins instead of the engineering. I see they do plasma spectroscopy which would be a better avenue of doing fusion research than Material science (material science do fusion too but as the name suggests they study and test materials needed on the engineering side of things, new material for tokomak design, things like that).

    This link to the wiki of their plasma group might interest you:

  5. Jan 14, 2013 #4
    Thanks for the advice! The way I'm looking at the situation (when I decided my major that is) is that scientists have already figured out the theory behind making fusion work (and there are probably tons of brilliant people who know more about that than I ever will), but what's needed to make nuclear fusion energy-effective is better materials.
    I'm not sure if that's a legitimate route, but that's my current view on things.
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