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  • The #Virtualternative PhD Event Concludes
FuseNet PhD Event

The #Virtualternative PhD Event Concludes

On Monday, 23 November 2020, 9 o’clock sharp, Prof. Roddy Vann opened the 7th edition of the FuseNet PhD event. Though originally the conference was to be held in Padova during early spring, the Covid-19 pandemic compelled us to come op with a virtual alternative. Hence, after some creative thinking, the 2020 FuseNet PhD Event, the #Virtualternative, was born.

Following Vann in his formal opening of the two-day event, Sibylle Günter (theoretical physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics and co-chair of EUROfusion’s General Assembly), Tony Donné (Programme Manager of EUROfusion), Patrick Child (Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Research and Innovation Department) and the FuseNet Student Council discussed their take on the prospects of and activities in nuclear fusion in the plenary morning session.

Following the first virtual coffee break, the team of FusionEP Talks hosted the first of a three-part Pecha Kucha competition, where following last year’s success, doctoral students were given the stage to present their research in twenty twenty-second slides.

After lunch, attendees got together in an expert-led discussion on a variety of topics, ranging from tritium supply and production strategies to decency in the fusion community, from high-performance computing to fusion reactor materials. Consequently, another Pecha Kucha round concluded the formal part of the day.

No PhD Event – online or offline – is complete without the indispensable drinks and laughter. Luckily, a live performance of DJ Karl provided the funky tunes to follow the daunting questions that comprised the Student Council’s pub quiz. The quiz, seriously contesting the participants knowledge on important subjects like Harry Potter, European geography and back-to-front-played songs, was won by “The Magnificent Ladders”, followed closely by “The Lost Lizards” and “Chicago Pile”.

During the second day of the Virtualternative PhD Event, another round of Pecha Kucha talks and expert-led discussions – this time covering subjects as neutronics, fusion start-ups, energy system & economics and applications of fusion outside the energy market – encompassed the afternoon programme.

The day was closed by Roddy Vann, with the announcement of the winner of the Pecha Kucha competition; Bob Davies, who will assume the title of FuseNet Pecha Kucha champion from last year’s victor; Ana Kostic. Paolo Bettini, professor at the University of Padova and member of the FuseNet Board of Governors, briefly showed the participants what the next PhD Event could like, if conditions allow it to be held in Padova in the week of 5 July 2021.

Though the virtual format proved to be a fun and suitable alternative, we hope to meet everyone live at the next PhD Event, hopefully in Padova next year!