General Atomics guest physicist to present nuclear fusion lecture Nov. 12

Monday, November 02, 2009

Robert La Haye from General Atomics will talk about "Islands in the Stream: Magnetic Islands in a Rotating Plasma in the DIII-D Tokamak," at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in M1 lecture hall in Keplinger Hall.

His presentation examines some of the most challenging aspects of achieving nuclear fusion as an energy source. Nuclear fusion fuses atoms together, creating a burst of energy in the process. Nuclear fission, which currently provides about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, splits atoms to achieve a lower amount of energy.

La Haye will talk about the challenges in using a tokamak, which is a doughnut-shaped device that confines high temperature particles with a powerful magnetic field to cause them to collide and undergo fusion. “Tokamak” is a Russian acronym for “toroidal chamber with magnetic fields.”

The tokamak’s ability to effectively collide particles has established it as the most promising part of experimental magnetic configuration in nuclear fusion research. However, the stability of magnetic confinement fusion experiments remains an obstacle to nuclear fusion energy.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Department of Physics at (918) 631-3029.

Amethyst Cavallaro