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Of Interest

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How a brochure decided a career

Fabienne Kazarian (Click to view larger version...)
Fabienne Kazarian
Some people think that communication material, glossy brochures and leaflets are useless. They shouldn't, as communication material, sometimes, can change a person's life.

Take for instance Fabienne Kazarian, who just joined ITER as a radio frequency engineer with the CHD Department.

A brilliant student at the École Nationale Supérieure de Physique (ENSPM, Marseille) in the early 1990s, she was still undecided about her future. One day, she had to do a presentation on a scientific subject for her English class. "I got at it two days before it was due. I was wondering what would be nice to present. I really had no idea..." By chance, her elder sister had visited CEA-Cadarache some time before and had brought home a brochure—in English—about fusion and the newly completed Tore Supra tokamak. "This was completely new to me and I was totally fascinated. What a great concept! A clean, safe and sustainable source of energy! And the machine looked fabulous, so big and so complex. The very positive impression I experienced that day decided my career."

But how did one study fusion in Marseille in the early 1990s? "I inquired here and there, eventually called the people at Tore Supra who directed me to a little-known Master's in plasma physics. I worked on my thesis at Tore Supra—I was so impressed the first time I saw the machine!"

The "machine" was to become very familiar to Fabienne, who was hired to work in the CEA Fusion Department in 1997. "What I loved at Tore Supra was how fundamental physics and technology go hand-in-hand. I learned a lot from the technical staff." By 2006 she was heading the CIMES project, a major upgrade of the lower hybrid current drive (LHCD), which took the total settled LHCD heating power of the tokamak from 4 to 10 MW.

Two years later the inevitable question arose. "ITER had a strong appeal, not only as a decisive step in fusion research but also as a demonstration that the whole world could join forces to face a global challenge. To me, this was something huge and it was just natural to apply."

A job description on the ITER Organization's website fitted her profile perfectly, and Fabienne officially joined the Organization on 1 January, 2009.

On her office desk in 519, Fabienne keeps her Tore Supra construction helmet—she will definitely wear it "working on the ITER machine."

return to Newsline #66