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

  • Plasma modelling | New SOLPS-ITER code version launched

    The widely used SOLPS-ITER tool for plasma edge modelling has evolved since its launch in 2015. At recent workshop at KU Leuven in Belgium, European specialists [...]

    Read more

  • Open Doors Day | Accessing the very heart of ITER

    Small or tall, knowledgeable or neophyte, from near or far ... the 600 people who took part in ITER's latest Open Doors Day all departed with the sense that som [...]

    Read more

  • Local | A question and answer session

    Nuclear safety policy in France requires that a local information commission (Commission locale d'information, CLI) be established every time a nuclear installa [...]

    Read more

  • 31st ITER Council | Addressing challenges

    The project's governing body, the ITER Council, convened for the 31st time in its history on 16 and 17 November to evaluate the progress of construction, m [...]

    Read more

  • Machine assembly | Key components to be repaired

    When building a machine as large and as complex as ITER, difficulties and setbacks do not come as surprises—they are an integral part of manufacturing, assembli [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

Visitor

Plasma physicists never retire

Five years ago, in late 2017, David Campbell retired from the ITER Organization. A veteran plasma physicist who had spent 14 years at JET and participated in the JT-60U research program, he was appointed in 2006 as the ITER Organization was building up its management team. Over the years, under different job titles, David was to lead the project's science activities—a responsibility that culminated in the publication of the ITER Research Plan, a baseline document which forms the basis for research and operations planning for the coming years.

David Campbell led ITER science activities for many years before retiring in 2015. On his recent visit (here with Alberto Loarte, head of the ITER Science Division), he was overwhelmed beyond his expectations. ''It's marvellous to see it happening after all these years.'' (Click to view larger version...)
David Campbell led ITER science activities for many years before retiring in 2015. On his recent visit (here with Alberto Loarte, head of the ITER Science Division), he was overwhelmed beyond his expectations. ''It's marvellous to see it happening after all these years.''
Plasma physicists, however, are not meant to retire completely. The knowledge and expertise they have accumulated remains in high demand and, in David's case, this meant chairing the Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany; participating in the Advisory Board for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; writing and editing the fusion chapters of the Encyclopedia of Nuclear Energy; and working with his former team at ITER on a journal article summarizing the 400-page ITER Research Plan. "It's more work than expected but I guess this has been the story of my life..." smiles David, who visited ITER recently with his wife Judith, a former ITER documentation specialist.

In the five years since David left, many things have changed in the fusion world, one of the most striking being the sudden emergence of private investment in fusion and the plethora of startups being established throughout the world. "With a few exceptions, it is difficult to follow what is happening there. For reasons that are easy to understand, the startups do not publish much detail on the technology they are implementing or plan to develop, which makes it difficult to judge the merits of the time scales they advertise."

After decades of relative indifference, fusion seems to be on every newspaper front page and magazine cover. However, the former head of ITER science harbours a sober vision of the future. "Fusion alone will not solve the climate problem. But it can be a significant long-term energy source. And it's one of the very few major energy resources that humanity will have available in the future ..."

ITER has also changed dramatically over the past five years. "When I left, none of the big components had yet arrived. Now the vision in the Assembly Hall is simply extraordinary. You expect to be overwhelmed and indeed you are, way beyond your expectations. It's marvellous to see it happening after all these years." But beyond the technological achievements and the "elegant engineering," what deeply moved David was the sheer beauty of what he saw—"the different shapes, colours and shades" that lend to ITER its unexpected artistic dimension.



return to the latest published articles