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Events on Monday, February 27th, 2023

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Advances in Stellarator Optimization
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Sophia Henneberg, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics
Abstract: Recent improvements in stellarator optimization and new stellarator designs will be presented. Stellarators possess three-dimensional magnetic fields typically solely generated by the coils’ magnetic field. This reduces or even eliminates the need for generating toroidal plasma currents, which can lead to detrimental instabilities such as disruptions. However, the three-dimensionality can in general involve some drawbacks, e.g., more complicated coils are typically needed compared to the axisymmetric case. Nonetheless, with careful exploitation of the large design space via optimization, the apparent disadvantages can be diminished. In stellarator optimization studies, the boundary of the plasma is usually described by Fourier series that are not unique: several sets of Fourier coefficients describe approximately the same boundary shape. A simple method for eliminating this arbitrariness is proposed and shown to work well in practice. Additionally, we investigate the mathematical structure of the various inter-related calculations that underpin the integrated stellarator optimization problem to better understand how the equilibrium calculation, the coil calculation, and the optimization calculation communicate with each other. Furthermore, new exciting stellarator designs with better confinement properties will be presented. Lastly, I will describe ongoing and future work including ideas for a new university experiment and ways forward for generating simpler coils.
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Astronomy Colloquium
Thunder and Lightning: New Frontiers in Time-domain Astronomy
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Ben Margalit, University of California, Berkeley
Abstract: Advances in multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy provide a fresh view of the dynamic Universe and herald a new era in astrophysics. Through gravitational waves and across the electromagnetic spectrum, transient astrophysical phenomena hold enormous potential as probes of extreme physics and cosmic scales. In this talk I will give an overview of recent developments in time-domain astronomy. Focusing on two frontier research areas—neutron star mergers and fast radio bursts—I will illustrate how transients can be harnessed to study fundamental open questions with far-reaching implications. I will conclude by briefly discussing the future of the field and the opportunities ahead.
Host: Ke Zhang
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