A visit to a research site like JET at the campus of UKAEA in Culham is not something everyone gets to experience. Morten Lennholm and Adam Parrott, a scientist and an engineer focusing on heating and controlling the hot plasma in JET, gladly make the time to organize the EUCYS visits. Lennholm: “I’ve been doing this for years now. It’s such a pleasure to be able to share our experience of working at JET with these young people.”
Polish mathematics student Adam Barański from the University of Warsaw won the EUCYS visit to JET in 2021 but had to delay his visit because of access restrictions due to COVID. In summer 2022, he finally got to journey to JET: an eye-opener, he says.
Barański has been a frequent participant in science competitions since primary school, but winning the EUCYS visit to JET gave him his first opportunity to visit a Big Science facility. “It’s amazing to see everyone working together for something greater than their own individual research topic”, says the mathematician.
Fascinated by mathematics since primary school, Barański has always been drawn to the more abstract, fundamental side of things. During his week at JET, Adam had the opportunity to talk to theoreticians and modelers who use their mathematical knowledge to understand the rowdy plasma (a gas heated to temperatures sometimes even ten times hotter than the Sun) in their fusion device. “After visiting JET, I’m triggered to think about what I want to do with my training in mathematics.”
What comes out of the EUCYS visits to JET? For Lennholm, Parrott and their colleagues who welcome these students, the goal is simply to inspire. “I know the impact that visiting the machine can have on people”, says Adam Parrott. “I think being able to work here at JET and contribute to developing fusion is a privilege. I hope that these visits interest the students in science, maybe even into joining the next generation of researchers who will help develop fusion as an energy source. In the long view, I think that is the best possible use of my time.”