European Fusion Teacher Day Debut
On 2 October 2020, secondary school teachers from countries all over Europe were invited to learn more about the topic of nuclear fusion and were provided with education tools to teach the subject to their students. Being the first of its name, the European Fusion Teacher Day was held online and attended by over 250 participants, spread over 16 local language sessions.
These local sessions are where the attendees commenced their day. An expert presented an introductory lecture on the fusion topic, covering the fundamentals of the technology, its challenges and the specific focus of local research. This was followed by another presentation – this time by the local organiser, teacher or professor – going through the in-development classroom material for secondary schools. Then the local sessions were concluded in anticipation of the central plenary that followed.
During the central session, participants from 17 countries came together in a singular webinar – hosted by Roddy Vann, the Chair of FuseNet's Board of Governors. In this part of the program, teachers were (virtually) transported to three premier fusion facilities in Europe: GOLEM in the Czech Republic, JET in the UK, and finally the ITER site in southern France.
During the presentation at GOLEM, the oldest operative tokamak, located in Prague, attendees were taken on a journey from the initiation of the machine’s construction to the application in its current state. The session was concluded with a live experiment showing all GOLEM’s grandeur, as despite the limited visual capacity of the video connection, Vojtěch Svoboda managed to ignite a short-lived plasma for all to see.
The second presentation, hosted by scientists Fernanda Rimini and Nikolaus Muldal, both from UKAEA, at the Joint European Torus (JET), included an inside look at the control room and a virtual tour of the machine itself, allowing the participants to get a sense of the many different components. Rimini also addressed a few of the most exciting ongoing research projects at the facility, including the upcoming DT (Deuterium-Tritium fuel) campaign.
The final tour of the plenary session was hosted by Sabina Griffith, directly from her office at ITER. Apart from a live view of the ITER facilities through her office window, a slide-deck composed by the ITER team was presented to the teachers by Will Beaton, an intern at that time (and creator of the ITER Now Youtube series). The slide deck includes high-resolution videos, animations and images of the ITER project for teachers to use in their modules. To conclude the ITER plenary part, Greg de Temmerman gave a presentation from the machine assembly hall concerning the ITER assembly process.
The central session of the European Fusion Teacher Day was concluded by Roddy Vann after which the participating teachers returned to their local session, evaluating the preceding presentations and closing the day.
More teaching modules and materials will be uploaded on the FuseNet Educational Materials browser.
Finally, we present: The Group Picture