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Title:“I wished to copy nature. I could not. But I was satisfied when I discovered the sun, for instance, could not be reproduced, but only represented by something else.”
Author(s):Parsons, Matthew
Subject(s):Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering
Abstract:Sainte-Victoire was the subject of dozens of paintings by French artist Paul Cézanne. Seen here on a sunny October day, the mountain juts out of the ground, standing boldly in the Provençal landscape. From the peak, you can see in the distance the construction site of the world’s largest alternative energy experiment: ITER. When ITER operates, hydrogen nuclei will collide and “fuse” together inside the machine, releasing energy. This process of nuclear fusion is how stars produce energy. While Cézanne learned to represent the essence of the sun through art, we are trying to represent its essence through science and technology. If the ITER experiment is successful, it will dawn a new age of clean energy production. At the ITER worksite, you can see a mess of computer code on the monitor in my office. The statistical models I develop will help scientists to control the hundred-million-degree hydrogen plasma inside ITER. Looking at my screen, one might think that my research is about programming and data and models, but it’s not. It’s about that mountain, and ensuring that we develop science and technology that helps us to protect our planet for endless generations.
Issue Date:2017
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Matthew Parsons
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-04-14

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