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James W. Van Dam headshot
January 21, 20164:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)

The U.S. Fusion Energy Sciences Program


James W. Van Dam (U.S. Department of Energy)


Carl Gaglidardi



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Plasma, the so-called fourth state of matter, is pervasive throughout the universe, with many diverse scientific manifestations. The U.S. Department of Energy supports plasma science research ranging from low-temperature plasmas, high energy density plasmas, and warm dense matter, to solar, space, and astrophysical plasmas. A large research effort is also devoted to studying how high-temperature plasmas can be confined by magnetic fields in the laboratory-- ultimately for the production of fusion energy. The ITER experimental facility, to be operated as an international project by a consortium of international member countries representing more than 50% of the world’s population, will push research into the frontier regime of “burning plasmas,” which are self-heated and self-sustaining. This talk will explain what fusion is, describe how the U.S. fusion energy sciences program operates, and point to some career opportunities.

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