Looking back in laughter: The former project manager and now Head of CERN, Robert Aymar (center)
On April 1st 2008, a celebration took place at the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Tore Supra's first plasma. This was an excellent opportunity to gather several generations of physicists and engineers that had designed, built and operated Tore Supra.
Before a convivial buffet, several staff of the Institute including retirees, recounted the Tore Supra adventure through various anecdotes: industrialization problems of NbTi superconducting cables; designing Tore Supra essentially with drawing tables and slide rules; disbelief of foreign colleagues that a superfluid helium bath could properly cool down superconductors; the atmosphere in the control room on the night between 31 March and 1 April 1988 (with a scoop: the first plasma of Tore Supra probably happened on March 31st!); progress toward the minutes duration discharge; the saga of the klystrons for current drive from the choice of the 3,7 GHz frequency up to the latest technological developments for the CIMES project.
Beneath the physics findings and the technological achievements, the human and team spirit aspects really shined through. Jean Jacquinot, former Head of the Institute and Yves Caristan, Director of the "Direction des Sciences de la Matière" sent their congratulations and encouragements to the Institute staff by remote participation. Looking towards future prospects for Tore Supra concluded the presentations. The last word was given by Robert Aymar, Tore Supra project manager and currently Director of CERN whose advice to young scientists was "always keep a long ranging view on the future by always preparing the next step."
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