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Distinguished Lecture

Leading Challenges and the Role of Transformation in the Fusion and Plasma Sciences

Dr. Edmund SynakowskiU.S. Department of Energy
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Dr. Edmund Synakowski is the featured
speaker at the 6th Annual MIPSE Graduate
Student Symposium.
The fusion energy and plasma sciences have undergone remarkable transformational events in its history. Many of these events have shaped and reshaped our understanding of what the field's standards for excellence and progress ought to be. Indeed, many scientific developments have enlarged the consciousness of the field regarding what is even possible. Examples in magnetic fusion go all the way back to declassification, when there emerged a common understanding on both sides of the Cold War of the nature of the science of plasmas that emboldened scientists globally to reach for theoretical frameworks that spanned specific experimental configurations. While much of scientific progress is incremental, this talk takes a walk through the history of fusion and plasma science that is decidedly selective, with the choice made to focus on transformational developments that have led to rapid expansions in thinking of what it means to conduct this research. It is with this as backdrop that we can draw inspiration as we view the tasks in hand of establishing the scientific bases for fusion and the plasma sciences, and for mastering control of both the burning plasma and low temperature plasma regimes.
Dr. Synakowski is the Associate Director of Science for Fusion
Energy Sciences (FES) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The FES
Office supports research to develop the scientific basis for fusion energy,
and also serves as a leading steward for plasma science more broadly. With
an annual budget of about $400M, the FES portfolio includes research at
national laboratories, universities, and private industry.

Prior to joining FES in June of 2009, Dr. Synakowski served as the Fusion
Energy Program (FEP) Leader and as the Deputy Division Leader At-Large of
the Physics Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Within
the FEP, he led a broad portfolio of magnetic
fusion energy science, high energy density
physics, fusion technology, and beam
research.

Dr. Synakowski was at the Princeton Plasma
Physics Laboratory (PPPL) from 1988 through
2005, where he was Head of Research and
Deputy Program Director of the National
Spherical Torus Experiment. His research and
group leadership on the Tokamak Fusion
Test Reactor at PPPL in the 1990's was in
cross-magnetic-field transport. He led some
of the first detailed comparisons between
measurements and turbulent transport
theory in fusion reactor conditions, and
made the only measurements to date of the
creation and transport of helium ash in a
laboratory fusion plasma.

Dr. Synakowski shared the APS Award for
Excellence in Plasma Physics in 2001. He is
a Fellow of APS and the Institute of Physics,
and has authored more than 150 refereed
publications.

Sponsored by

MIPSE

Faculty Host

Mark J. Kushner