Physics Seminar Series

MPEX schematic

The Sun in Our Hands: ITER, MPEX, and the Future of Nuclear Fusion Reactors

presented by Davis Easley, C'18

Wednesday, March 29, 7:30 - 8:30pm, Woods Labs 216

Nuclear fusion powers the stars and is the most abundant form of energy in the universe. Hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium recombine in a plasma state to form helium, releasing energy in the process. For over a century, humanity has been trying to synthesize fusion power and thereby bring virtually clean, free, and limitless energy to the entire globe. Currently, an international coalition of nine countries are pooling resources into the ITER project (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – also Latin for “The Way”), a tokamak machine under construction in France, which upon completion is predicted to generate 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input power.

In the United States, materials science research for ITER container walls is being conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX). In this talk I will discuss fusion power, its processes and complications in human recreation, as well as aspects of plasma diagnostics and modeling of plasma-material thermal interactions.

Davis Easley, C'18, is a junior at the University of the South pursuing a B.S. degree in Physics and Mathematics, with a minor in Chemistry. He does research in Dr. Eugenii Donev's laboratory on lithographic fabrication of plasmonic nanostructures for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Davis is the current president of the Sewanee chapter of the Society of Physics Students and a member of the national physics honors society Sigma Pi Sigma. In addition to his passion for fusion science, Davis is a hobby illusionist and multi-instrumentalist, having played in a variety of bands on campus including the pep band, jazz band, orchestra, and most recently as the drummer of Studio IV. He will be continuing his work with MPEX this summer on a research internship at ORNL. 

For more information: Prof. Eugene Donev (931) 598-3154 |