News from EUROfusion, Members and Partners

In Memoriam: Marc Beurskens (1970-2024)

On the 11th of April 2024, Dr. Marc Beurskens passed away. He just had turned 54 and had been battling myeloma for almost 8 years.

Dr. Marc Beurskens; credit: MPI for Plasma Physics / Iris Wessolowski

In 1999, Marc obtained a PhD in Fusion Plasma Physics. His dissertation was titled “Design and Construction of a New Detection Branch of a Double Pulse Thomson Scattering System for the Rijnhuizen Tokamak project RTP” [1] at the FOM institute in the Netherlands. Soon after, he was seconded to work on the Joint European Torus (JET), based in the UK. During that 3-year period, Marc worked on the JET LIDAR Thomson Scattering system and began examining the plasma pedestal behaviour. After a brief return to his home country to promote fusion in the political environment, he took a permanent position at UKAEA in 2005. He resumed his role as responsible officer of the LIDAR system and concurrently led the development of the High-Resolution Thomson Scattering system. His expertise in edge diagnostics and pedestal physics steadily grew over the years, and his work contributed to numerous publications and conference contributions. From 2009 onwards, he assumed line-management duties by becoming the JET Electron Kinetics group leader. In 2010, he went into experimental program management, serving as one of the task force leaders in charge of exploiting JET with the new ITER-like wall.  In this position, he became internationally recognised as an expert in pedestal and confinement physics. [2]-[9]

After almost 14 years of continuous work on JET, Marc sought to broaden his horizons and in 2014, joined the newly formed EUROfusion Medium-Sized Tokamak (MST) task force leadership based at IPP Garching in Germany and contributed to the development of a novel approach to the exploitation of European fusion devices, building a new task force from scratch. While pursuing his physicist career, he contributed to the setup of coordinated experiments on ASDEX Upgrade and TCV with the aim of developing integrated ITER scenarios with good pedestal and global confinement and divertor-compatible conditions.

In 2015, always eager to discover new physics, Marc joined the W7-X stellarator team and moved to IPP Greifswald as group leader in the area of stellarator heating and optimisation. Since 2017, due to his illness, he had been focusing more on scientific work. He made a major contribution to the understanding of the anomalous ion transport observed in Wendelstein 7-X, while combining research in stellarators and tokamaks [10]-[11].  His latest contribution was at the 29th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2023) in London in October 2023 on “Interpreting Ion Heat Transport in Wendelstein 7-X Experiments Using an Empirical Transport Model To Find Routes To Optimum Performance Plasmas”.

Besides being a dedicated and passionate physicist, Marc was also, for many of us, a great colleague and friend. He will be missed and never forgotten. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family.

Online Tribute to Marc Beuskens

[1] A high spatial resolution double-pulse Thomson scattering diagnostic; description, assessment of accuracy and examples of applications,  M N A Beurskens et al 1999 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 41 1321

[2]  Pedestal width and ELM size identity studies in JET and DIII-D; implications for ITER,M N A Beurskens et al 2009 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 51 124051

[3 ]Pedestal and ELM response to impurity seeding in JET advanced scenario plasmas, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2008 Nucl. Fusion 48 095004

[4] Pedestal and scrape-off layer dynamics in ELMy H-mode plasmas in JET, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2009 Nucl. Fusion 49 125006

[5] H-mode pedestal scaling in DIII-D, ASDEX Upgrade, and JET  M N A Beurskens et al, Phys. Plasmas 18, 056120 (2011)

[6] Comparison of hybrid and baseline ELMy H-mode confinement in JET with the carbon wall, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2013 Nucl. Fusion 53 013001

[7] The Effect of a Metal Wall on Confinement in JET and ASDEX Upgrade, M N A Beurskens et al 2013 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 55 124043

[8] “Global and pedestal confinement in JET with a Be/W metallic wall”, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2014 Nucl. Fusion 54 043001

[9] The role of carbon and nitrogen on the H-mode confinement in ASDEX Upgrade with a metal wall, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2016 Nucl. Fusion 56 056014

[10] Ion temperature clamping in Wendelstein 7-X electron cyclotron heated plasmas, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2021 Nucl. Fusion 61 116072

[11] [Confinement in electron heated plasmas in Wendelstein 7-X and ASDEX Upgrade; the necessity to control turbulent transport, M.N.A. Beurskens et al 2022 Nucl. Fusion 62 016015].

Share the Post:

You may also enjoy these articles: