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New lecture series to share expert knowledge

Krista Dulon

The new ITER Science and Technology Meetings kick off on Tuesday 29 January. (Click to view larger version...)
The new ITER Science and Technology Meetings kick off on Tuesday 29 January.
A new type of lecture series kicks off this week at ITER that aims to promote the sharing of expert knowledge of fusion, the ITER Tokamak, and its systems with the Organization's scientific and technical staff.

Modelled after science meetings held for many years at JET, the ITER Science and Technology Meetings have a threefold stated purpose: to intensify the Organization's academic atmosphere, to educate the younger members of staff, and to offer a forum for constructive peer criticism.

"Many of the younger scientists and technicians come from areas outside of fusion," explains Paul Thomas, head of the Heating & Current Drive Division, who is taking the lead in programming the lecture series. "We feel that it is important to diffuse the knowledge that is specific to the ITER Project and bring everyone on board in the pursuit of our goal. It's good for an engineer, for example, to understand the 'larger picture' and have information beyond that of his or her specific equipment area."

The proposal for the new lecture series was approved by the ITER Project Board in December. A steering committee has been created to plan the lecture topics for the bi-monthly meetings and to make sure that the series remains focused on its goal: to offer high-quality, highly technical content in a one-hour session that is designed not to overtax already busy work schedules.

Each meeting will include two presentations plus time for discussion. The series begins on Tuesday 29 January with "What is a Tokamak" and "Superconductivity for Fusion." "This first meeting should be considered rather a prerequisite for all of the others, establishing the technical basis for ITER operation that will continue to be explored during the other lectures," says Paul. "We're hoping for excellent attendance, especially among the junior staff members."

The ITER Science and Technology Meetings will clearly demarcate themselves from ITER's other regular conference series, Inside ITER, which is aimed at a more general public. The speakers will come principally from the ranks of ITER Organization and Domestic Agency staff, with a few notable exceptions. Jean-Luc Duchateau, who was involved with the development of the superconducting tokamak Tore Supra, and Peter Stott, co-author of Fusion: The Energy of the Universe, are already on the lecture series program.

A special session will be devoted annually to topics related to neutral beam heating in memory of ITER's Heating & Current Drive Division head Arturo Tanga, who died with his wife in a tragic accident in 2009. The first Arturo and Beatrice Tanga Memorial Talk is scheduled for 26 February 2013.

The new ITER lecture series aims to stand apart. "This bi-monthly event should not be considered 'just another meeting,'" sums up Paul. "It is a sign of maturity for an Organization when it can offer personal enrichment opportunities of this calibre."

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