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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of September 16th through September 23rd, 2018

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
High performance fusion plasmas and explosive instability
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Steven Cowley, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Abstract: The highest fusion performance plasmas have been attained by suppressing the turbulence that
plagues fusion experiments. Unfortunately such plasmas frequently become unstable to explosive
instabilities that can release large amounts of destructive energy in a very short time. For this reason
these regimes are not considered candidates for ITER operation. I will discuss how explosive
flux tube instabilities occur, how they cause catastrophic heat loss and how they disconnect from
the confined plasma.
Host: Ellen Zweibel
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Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Redistricting and randomness
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Jordan Ellenberg, UW Department of Mathematics
Abstract: I will talk about the challenge of providing a useful, robust, and simple measure of “partisan gerrymandering,” the practice of drawing legislative district lines to secure advantage for one political party. This has been a contentious legal issue for many years, with Wisconsin’s own assembly districts among those which have are in legal jeopardy, and one of the great challenges is to establish protocols which are both legally and mathematically sound.
Host: Clint Sprott
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Council Meeting
council meetings
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2314 Chamberlin Hall
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Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Department Meeting
Department Meeting
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
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Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Women and Gender Minorities in Physics
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5290 Chamberlin Hall
Abstract: Our goals are to provide both professional development and
support for women and gender minorities in physics at every
step in their careers by taking concrete actions through the
following methods: Fellowship, Mentorship, Professional
Development and Outreach.
Our group is open to anyone at any level in academia who identifies as a woman,
gender minority (such as people who are transgender or nonbinary), or ally of
women and gender minorities in physics. Our meetings have been made up of
grads, undergrads, postdocs, research scientists, and faculty. Examples of our
events are listed below.
Fellowship
● Monthly social events
● S’mores at picnic point
● Bowling
● Movie nights
Mentorship
● Undergraduate mentorship program
● Personal essay and application workshops
● Resources for incoming graduate students
Professional Development
● Women and gender minorities journal club
● Series of panels on applying to graduate school for undergraduates
● APS Communications and Negotiation Skills Seminar for Women
Outreach
● Expanding Your Horizons
● Physics Fair booth
● WISELI: “Eliminating Unconscious Bias” Workshop
● Science fair participation
● Girl scouts’ Inspire STEM
Presentation: GMaWiP Flyer.pdf
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Friday, September 21st, 2018

Physics Department Colloquium
Small, modular & economically attractive fusion enabled by high-field superconductors
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Dennis Whyte, MIT
Abstract: The origin, development and new opportunities of an accelerated strategy for magnetic fusion energy based on the high-field approach are developed. This approach confinement devices are designed at the maximum possible value of vacuum magnetic field strength, B. The integrated electrical, mechanical and cooling engineering challenges of high-field large-bore electromagnets are described. These engineering challenges are confronted because of the profound science advantages provided by high-B: high fusion power density, ~B4, in compact devices, thermonuclear plasmas with significant stability margin, and, in tokamaks, access to higher plasma density. Two distinct magnetic fusion strategies were previously allowed: either compact, cryogenically-cooled copper devices with Bcoil>20 T, orlarge-volume, Nb3Sn superconductor device with Bcoil < 12 T. The second path was exclusively chosen ca. 2000 with the ITER construction decision. Yet since that decision, a new opportunity has arisen: compact, Rare Earth Barium Copper Oxide (REBCO) superconductor-based devices with Bcoil > 20 T; a strategy that essentially combines the best components of the two previous strategies. This new strategy is materialized in the recently announced SPARC project, which looks to build a highly compact net energy magnetic fusion device, solely funded by the private sector. The science and fusion energy development mission of SPARC will be described.
Host: Cary Forest
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