Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Plasma physics | Be clean, be strong

    To achieve maximum fusion efficiency in a tokamak device it is essential to limit the impurities in the plasma. But this can be a challenge, as interaction betw [...]

    Read more

  • Coil power supply | Switching network tested in Russia

    Plasma could not be created in the ITER vacuum vessel without switching network units, whose operation creates the voltage that 'ionizes*' the cloud of fuel ato [...]

    Read more

  • Star struck | For Silicon Valley philanthropist ITER is "the only way"

    One is planning to send tiny spacecrafts to the nearest stellar system; the other aims to bring the power of the stars to Earth. Yuri Milner, Russian-born entre [...]

    Read more

  • Cryogenics | How low can you go?

    The realm of the extremely cold is fascinating. Temperatures driving toward absolute zero, 'steaming' cryogenic liquids and hovering magnets create an air of ma [...]

    Read more

  • Stakeholders | Europe's vote of confidence

    The bottom line is always what matters. For the statement issued on Thursday 12 April by the European Council of Ministers, the key phrase was in the final poin [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived articles

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

R.A.

 (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