Fusion Energy with a Twist

Join us for a public lecture from Professor Per Herlander. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

schedule Date & time
2 Feb 2023 | 5:30 - 6:30pm
person Speaker


Per Herlander, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics
next_week Event series


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Josh Robinson

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To achieve fusion power production, it is necessary to heat the fuel (hydrogen isotopes) to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees. The resulting thermonuclear plasma needs to be thermally insulated from the surroundings, and for this purpose a magnetic field can be used. This field needs to be “twisted”, so that the magnetic field lines wind around each other. In 1951, Lyman Spitzer, a legendary Princeton astrophysicist, discovered that a twisted magnetic field can be produced by magnetic-field coils in a way that most physicists find surprising. His idea is now put to a billion-euro test by the Max Planck Society in the Wendelstein 7-X experiment, which was completed a few months ago. In this lecture, I will give a simple account of Spitzer's insight and describe this latest experiment in the worldwide quest for fusion energy.

About the speaker

Born in Swedish Umeå in 1967, Per Helander studied physics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. After taking his PhD on the dynamics of fast ions in fusion experiments of the tokamak type in 1994 and working as a visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (USA), he joined the theory department at Culham Science Centre in Abingdon (Great Britain) in 1996. He also served as an adjunct professor at Chalmers University of Technology from 2002 till 2005. In 2006, he was appointed Scientific Fellow at the Greifswald Branch of Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics where he heads the department "Stellarator Theory". In parallel he was appointed to a chair for theoretical plasma physics at the University of Greifswald. His personal research interests include most aspects of stellarator and tokamak physics, in particular kinetic theory, as well as general questions in plasma physics.

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Topic: Fusion Energy with a Twist 
Time: Feb 2, 2023 05:30 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

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