Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
The thesis was sent across the Pacific Ocean and right into Professor Keribers mailbox. At the same time, a very serious meeting was taking place in the conference room at the Wendelstein 7-X laboratory.
The big names sitting here were Professor Ganser Hesinger, a director of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, a representative sent from the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, and various visiting scholars from the PPPL, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics.
If Professor Lazerson didnt retire, he would be at this meeting as well. The He3 atom probe technology played an important role in plasma observation, and the reputation of the He3 project team had also grown.
But now, Lazerson wasnt sitting here. Rather, his assistant, the thirty-year-old doctoral holder Fern Boucher was here. When he sat next to the group of big names, he almost felt embarrassed to speak.
As for why the conference was so serious
That was because of something that happened last month.
Last month, the Wendelstein 7-X finally completed the installation of a water-cooled divertor.
According to the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics plan, the water-cooled divertor would completely solve the temperature problem that was present in the reaction chamber.
However, the results werent as ideal as expected.
When the 100 million degrees plasma was confined within the electromagnetic field, the water-cooled divertor did indeed come in handy. However, the speed of the temperature rising of the first wall exceeded the researchers expectations.
Due to the large amount of heat energy, the temperature of the first wall material kept rising, and it slowly began to affect the safety of the stellarators orbit path.
In order to prevent an accident from happening, the staff members had to turn off the equipment and pause the experiment.
At last, the stellarator with the water-cooled divertor could only maintain a high-temperature plasma for six minutes.
Compared to the tokamaks 100 seconds record, this result was quite excellent.
However, this wasnt particularly amazing for a stellarator.
Keriber looked at the research report in his hand and made a brief report to the scholars and experts sitting around the conference table.
The water-cooled divertor has been installed. However, it wasnt as good at controlling the plasma as we had expected.
According to the data recorded, starting from second 227, a small amount of unbounded plasma made contact with the first wall; this was the main cause of the heat accumulation. This eventually led to the first wall temperature rising faster than the cooling capabilities of the water-cooled divertor.
After hearing Keribers report, Professor Edor from the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres suddenly spoke.
So what youre saying is that the problem isnt the water-cooled divertor, but rather the uncontrollable plasma from the stellarator?
Although the Wendelstein 7-X Laboratory was owned by the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, the stellarators internal design was co-built by the Max Planck Institute and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.
The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres was the second largest institute in Germany, behind the Max Planck Institute; it had a high amount of respect within the fusion energy community.
Keriber answered the question from the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Not uncontrollable. Its the natural divergence of plasma. Even a star couldnt make every single plasma particle orbit around the track. There will always be a few plasma hitting the wall; this is within the bounds of acceptable errors.
Professor Edor raised his eyebrows. Only a few particles?
Keriber: That is only an example. I obviously cant give you the exact number. I can only tell you, compared to the mainstream tokamak device, we are doing extremely well in terms of magnetic confinement fusion.
Professor Hesinger saw that the two were about to get into an argument, so he coughed and interrupted the conversation.
The problem is clear. Now, we have to solve the problem, not argue about meaningless things.
Professor Hesinger paused for a second before he continued, We have two choices. One is to change the existing control plan, and the other is to change our cooling system.
They could either reduce the number of plasma particles hitting the first wall by improving the electromagnetic fields control or upgrade the water-cooled divertor to improve cooling performance.
Improving the fusion control is very difficult. Professor Keriber shook his head and said, If theres a better control solution, we wouldve used it by now.
Boucher, who didnt get a chance to speak, finally said, What about changing the water-cooled divertor?
Its not realistic, and modifying the existing divertor is also impossible. Professor Hesinger shook his head and said, The main problem is, we need to achieve our 30 minutes by 2020 promise That means we have a maximum of two years.
The atmosphere in the conference room was a little tense; no one was speaking.
Like what Professor Hesinger said, time was the key.
The water-cooled divertor was no refrigerator; even a millimeter or micrometer change was an enormous project. Reassembling the device was difficult, but redesigning the device was almost impossible.
Over the past 15 years, they spent three years installing the water-cooled divertor onto the Wendelstein 7-X.
Now that they only had two years until 2020, there was no way they could spend another three years redesigning and assembling the water-cooled divertor.
Honestly, setting a time limit for scientific research was an asinine thing.
Even the leading expert of a field couldnt be certain on when a new piece of technology would be created.
It could be created tomorrow, or it could never be created.
However, if they didnt set a time limit, no one would give them funding.
It was noon. The meeting was temporarily dismissed and scheduled to continue at 2 pm.
Keriber was in the laboratory restaurant, and he ordered himself a cup of coffee before he sat down next to the window. He then opened his work laptop and checked his unread emails.
Thesis review invitation?
Keriber looked at the email in his mailbox and became interested.
Strictly speaking, he wasnt a plasma physicist. Instead, he was a plasma and fusion energy engineer.
Also, the stellarator was less popular than the tokamak, and there werent many international research institutes that engaged in this field.
The last time he received a thesis review invitation from the American Physical Society was five years ago.
He didnt want to waste his meeting break time reading a thesis. However, Keriber was too curious and opened the thesis.
Although he wasnt a plasma physicist, he had been working at the Institute for Plasma Physics for a long time. He was familiar with the theory, and he was also experienced in reading research theses.
A mathematical model for plasma turbulence?
Professor Keriber read the thesis abstract and raised his eyebrows.
Kind of? Im not sure.
After reading the thesis abstract, Professor Keriber began to read the thesis body. When he saw the big formula in the thesis, his eyebrows twitched.
As an engineer, he was well-versed with mathematics. However, the equation in the thesis was beyond his scope of knowledge. Just looking at it gave him a headache.
Its just a phenomenological model, is it really necessary to use such complex mathematics?
Professor Keriber was confused; this style of compact writing reminded him of someone.
When he looked at the authors name, he suddenly smirked.
Its this guy
He smiled and shook his head. Keriber gave up and skipped the complex formulas; he looked at the conclusion of the mathematical model instead.
At first, he didnt agree with the thesis.
But the more he read, the more serious he became.
Suddenly, his face turned red. He immediately took out his phone.
Iger, Ill send a thesis to your email address, print out the thesis for me!
Iger was his office assistant who was responsible for most of the daily miscellaneous tasks such as scheduling and documents.
Normally, theses that hadnt been published shouldnt be open to the public. However, exposing the thesis privately was within the rules.
After all, many reviewers that came across a particularly excellent thesis in a field they werent familiar with would often exchange opinions with their peers.
Iger: Okay sir, how many copies do you need?
However many people that are attending the afternoon meeting!