7 December 2017
Fifteen lower sixth physicists enjoyed a morning out at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), accompanied by lower sixth girls from Godolphin School, Salisbury. Following an introductory lecture from a plasma physicist, outside the familiarly named Bickerton Room in the CCFE library, pupils from both schools were able to tour the control rooms and reactor hall where the JET and MAST fusion reactors operate. The size of the experiments and the technology involved in controlling them were awe inspiring, which is only to be expected in a lab where humans are trying to re-create an artificial star to power our energy hungry future. The robotic handling technology was particularly fascinating with human-robot interface controls that looked like something out of a science fiction starship. The next step in fusion development will take place at ITER in the south of France, but the work done at CCFE, right on our doorstep, will play a crucial role in this and provide challenging career opportunities for local engineers and scientists well into the future.