Variational principles of plasma confinement in 3D magnetic fields

31 January – 2 February 2023

Plasma is the “fourth state of matter", consisting of electrons and ions that are not bonded to each other. Plasma physics studies the collective behaviour of plasmas and their interaction with electromagnetic field and gravity, and has a wide range of applications such as controlled fusion, space propulsion, astrophysics, solar physics and material processing. Numerical solution and simulation play a key role in plasma physics, especially for complicated geometry and highly nonlinear processes.

Computational mathematics is deeply embedded in plasma simulations, as the equations of interest are often high dimensional, nonlinear and sometimes singular. This event aims to promote communications between computational mathematicians and plasma physicists, to seek solutions to the long-standing difficulties in computational plasma physics, and identify applications for newly developed algorithms and computational techniques.

Tentative Schedule

Day 1: (Tuesday 31 January)

8:30 am - 8: 40 am Welcome and Logistics

8:40 am- 10:00 am Variational Principles and Hamiltonian formulations, Phil Morrison

10:00 am-10:20 am Coffee Break

10:20 am- 11:00 am Variational Principles in MHD, Bob Dewar

11:00 am- 12:00 am TBA, Nathan Duingan (tentative)

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch break

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm A brief tour of smooth manifolds and Hamiltonian Mechanics, Peter Vassiliou (tentative)

2:00 pm - 3:40 pm TBA, Naoki Sato (tentative)

3:40 pm - 4:00 pm Coffee Break

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm TBA, TBA


Day 2: (Wednesday 1 February )

8:30 - 10:00 Energy, entropy and plasma stability (tentative), Per Helander

10:00 - 10:20 Coffee Break

10:20 - 11:00 Theory and simulation of fusion born energetic particles in tokamak plasma, Hooman

11:00 - 12:00 Derivative-free, stochastic optimisation & applications in machine learning, Lindon Roberts (tentative)

12:00 - 1:00pm Lunch break

1:00 pm - 2:20 pm Students talks and discussions (Dean, Joshua, Lee)

2:20 pm - 2:40 pm Coffee Break

2:40 pm - 4:00 pm Students Talks and discussions (David Perella, Matt, Nick, Tang)

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Open Questions and discussions.


Day 3: (Thursday, 2 February)

8:30 am - 10:00 am TBA, David Pfeffrele (tentative)

10:00 am - 10:20 am Coffee Break

10:20 am - 12:00 am Interactive discussion session with Per and Phill

12:00 am - 12:20 am Summary and conclusion of the mini-course

12:00 noon - Lunch break


Invited speakers

  • Prof. Per Helander, Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, Germany
  • Prof. Phil Morrison , University of Texas, Austin, USA
  • Dr. David Pfefferle, the University of Western Australia, Australia
  • Dr. Naoki Sato, Tokyo University, Japan
  • Dr. Lindon Robert, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Dr. Nathan Duignan, University of Sydney, Australia

Organsing committee

  • Arunav Kumar, Australian National University
  • Hooman Hezaveh, Australian National University
  • Matthew Hole, Australian National University

Partners & sponsors

Building #145, Science Road, The Australian National University


About Canberra

Canberra is located in the Australian Capital Territory, on the ancient lands of the Ngunnawal people, who have lived here for over 20,000 years. Canberra’s name is thought to mean ‘meeting place’, derived from the Aboriginal word Kamberra. European settlers arrived in the 1830s, and the area won selection by ballot for the federal capital in 1908. Since then the ‘Bush Capital’ has grown to become the proud home of the Australian story, with a growing population of around 390,000.

Canberra hosts a wide range of tourist attractions, including various national museums, galleries and Parliament House, as well as beautiful parks and walking trails. Several attractions are within walking distance of the ANU campus, including the National Museum of Australia and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Canberra is also a fantastic base from which to explore the many treasures of the surrounding region, including historic townships, beautiful coastlines and the famous Snowy Mountains. Learn more about what to do and see during your stay in Canberra here.


Below are some accommodation options for your visit to Canberra.

Visit Canberra accommodation page 


International visitors to Australia require a visa or an electronic travel authority (ETA) prior to arrival. It is your responsibility to ensure documentation is correct and complete before you commence your journey. Information on obtaining visas and ETAs can be found here.


There are many ways to get around Canberra. Below is some useful information about Bus & Taxi transport around the ANU, the Airport and surrounding areas.


If you are catching a taxi or Uber to the ANU Mathematical Sciences Institute, ask to be taken to Building #145, Science Road, ANU. We are located close to the Ian Ross Building and the ANU gym. A Taxi from the airport will usually cost around $40 and will take roughly 15 minutes. Pricing and time may vary depending on traffic.

Taxi bookings can be made through Canberra Elite Taxis - 13 22 27.

Airport Shuttle

The ACT government has implemented a public bus service from the CBD via the Canberra Airport via bus Route 11 and 11A, seven days a week. Services run approximately every half hour, and better during peak times (weekdays) and every hour (weekends).

To travel just use your MyWay card or pay a cash fare to the driver when boarding. A single adult trip when paying cash will cost $4.80 with cheaper fares for students and children. Significant savings can be made when travelling with MyWay.

View MyWay and Fares information.

For more information about the buses to Canberra airport.

Action Buses

Canberra buses are a cheap and easy way of getting around town once you're here.

For more information about bus services and fares.

Josh Robinson
+61 2 6125 2897