Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

Your email address will only be used for the purpose of sending you the ITER Organization publication(s) that you have requested. ITER Organization will not transfer your email address or other personal data to any other party or use it for commercial purposes.

If you change your mind, you can easily unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe option at the bottom of an email you've received from ITER Organization.

For more information, see our Privacy policy.

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Bookmark | "ITER: the Giant Fusion Reactor," second edition

    'Is ITER the 'star of science' whose creation has been made possible by humankind's sophisticated mastery of the laws of nature and the powers of technology? Or [...]

    Read more

  • Fusion world | ITER and ASDEX Upgrade in the monastic quiet

    The ASDEX Upgrade tokamak in Germany has been helping to establish the scientific basis for the optimization of the tokamak approach to fusion energy since 1991 [...]

    Read more

  • On site | There goes the long-standing crane

    In October 2014, close to ten years ago, five giant cranes were installed on and around the Tokamak Complex basemat slab. As work progressed to erect the Comple [...]

    Read more

  • Portfolio | Sector repair has started

    Built up against vacuum vessel sector #7, the scaffolding reaches almost 20 metres in height and masks the massive component. Streaks of blinding light, filtere [...]

    Read more

  • Fusion world | Public/private consortium is building the DTT tokamak

    The Divertor Test Tokamak in Italy is creating a new model for engagement with industry in fusion research. ITER helped to pave the way. The Divertor Test Tokam [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

Tokamaks: "An elegance that's hard to ignore"

 (Click to view larger version...)
One can never know what will inspire an artist. Take sculptor Tim Sandys, for instance: his latest work, soon to go on on display at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, draws from ... nuclear technology.

For the self-taught 38-year-old Scot, things nuclear have a beauty of their own. Many of his sculptures, like "Crossroads Baker," were named after some of the experimental detonations of the 1940s-1970s. Don't look for "Crossroads" on a map—it was just a 23-kiloton hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll in 1946.

Sandys even did a "Portrait of Edward Teller," a polyester resin, iron and vinyl abstraction that expresses the dark torments of the father of the H bomb.

When, in the course of his research, he encountered the tokamak, the artist knew he'd found something that he could elaborate on artistically. "The classic D-ring tokamak really resonated with me," he recalls. "I have a kid's appreciation of this donut structure, as if you could walk around inside the reactor. Aesthetically, the symmetrical precision of the torus has an elegance that's hard to ignore."

To realize his tokamak-inspired pieces, Sandys dug into the "visual goldmine" of tokamak drawings, cutaways and diagrams that are available on the Internet. "Then," he explains, "I sat down with a calculator and tried to summon my high-school geometry to plan the work. It was often exhausting—my last tokamak sculpture consisted of over 1,400 individual pieces of wood."

Sandys' interpretation of the tokamak is minimal. "I try to depict a cross-section or a segment emerging from a wall and then looping back into it. If I can get across a sense of mathematical rigour or simplicity then I'm happy."

The artist refuses to theorize his work. "I'm wary of artists who deliberately confuse or preach," he says. "Personally, I'd far rather find some kind of common language using mathematics or physical properties—one that doesn't need to be explained."

Wood and petroleum-jelly tokamaks, displayed on art gallery walls, is a first step in that direction.

For more information on Tim Sandys' work, click here.


return to the latest published articles