Columbia University graduate students, scientists, and faculty traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to attend the 63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP). This was the first “hybrid” meeting convened by the American Physical Society (APS) since the beginning of the pandemic.
From November 8-12, 2021, over 800 plasma physicists from the U.S. attended in-person and more than 1,200 physicists participated remotely, making the meeting the world’s largest devoted to plasma physics. Members of Columbia University presented 65 presentations on topics ranging from astrophysics, Alfvén waves, and fusion energy science. Immediately prior to the APS-DPP Meeting, Columbia University students also participated in an expert satellite meeting on active control of MHD modes in toroidal fusion devices. This was the 25th expert meeting on MHD stability control, including five previously hosted by Columbia University.
Highlights of the meeting were invited presentations from Columbia graduate students. At the MHD Stability Control Workshop, Juan Riquezes, working with Dr. Steve Sabbagh, spoke on the topic of “Cross-machine Investigation of Mode Locking and Forecasting of Rotating MHD modes for DECAF,” and Jalal Butt described “ELM and confinement transition identification events for Disruption Event Characterization and Forecasting.” Alex Battey, working with Prof. Jerry Navratil and Dr. Jeremy Hanson, reported the latest results showing “Simultaneous Control on Multiple RWMs on DIII-D Device.” Working with Dr. Francesca Turco and Prof. Carlos Paz-Soldan, William Boyes presented his “Stability of Diverted DIII-D Negative Triangularity Plasmas.” Representing the HBT-EP Tokamak Research group, graduate student Rian Chandra described his research “Real-time tomographic inversion as an observer for GPU based plasma control.” In addition to these student presentations, Dr. Jeff Levesque presented “Active mode control using current-injecting electrodes in a tokamak;” Dr. Oak Nelson described “Stability of the n = 0 resistive wall mode in a negative triangularity DIII-D;” Dr. Veronika Klevarova described “Pre-disruptive warning generation for the DECAF code based on locked mode critical amplitude scaling;” and Dr. Steven Sabbagh reported “Progress on Disruption Event Characterization and Forecasting Including Real-Time Implementation.”
Dr. Mel Abler, recent graduate of Columbia’s plasma physics program working with Prof. Mike Mauel, was invited to present their doctoral research to the full APS-DPP audience. Dr. Abler’s invited lecture was titled, “Characterizing Intermittent Turbulent Wave Kinetics and Three-Wave Coupling in Dipole-Confined Plasma.” The lecture presented a new paradigm for characterizing this turbulence by measuring the time-evolution of the fluctuation power spectrum and the instantaneous bispectrum using the continuous wavelet transform and computing the statistical properties of turbulent wave kinetics. Also invited to speak to the APS-DPP was Prof. Carlos Paz-Soldan, who described “Pathways to Transient Control in Tokamak Plasmas” in recognition of receiving the 2021 Thomas H. Stix Award for Outstanding Early Career Contributions to Plasma Physics Research. [See https://www.engineering.columbia.edu/news/professor-carlos-paz-soldan-honored-for-contributions-to-plasma-physics-research]
The Annual Meeting of the APS-DPP also provided opportunities for students to meet with physicists from around the country as they presented posters of their research progress. A special benefit of attending an “in-person” physics conference, the traditional Columbia Plasma Physics Laboratory Reunion could be held during the meeting once again. Former students could share stories of their time at Columbia with current students, and everyone could share the excitement of discovery in plasma physics.