Physics trip to Culham

On Tuesday 5th February, the Physics department had a rare opportunity to tour around and learn about the research undertaken at The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

The day began with a talk from one of the employees at Culham, where we learned about the past, present and future of Fusion technology. Fusion is the process which produces the energy in the sun and the stars. As the world population increases and developing countries begin to want the same standard of living, two to three times more energy will be needed to be produced in the next 50 years.

The group of Upper school pupils were then split into two groups and taken to see JET (Joint European Torus), the world’s largest and most powerful tokamak and the focal point of the European fusion research programme. In order to make fusion energy work on Earth, we must create our own version of the sun. This machine alone, has to be kept at 100 million °C, while the centre of the Sun is only around 15 million °C. The robotic handling technology (MASCOT) was particularly fascinating with human-robot interface controls that looked like something out of a science fiction movie. Remote handling is necessary due to radioactivity of the items involved.

On behalf of the sixth form A-level physicists we would like to thank Mrs Lane, Mr Allen and the Physics department for providing us with such a memorable experience that will definitely impact us all in the near future.

Review by Anashe Chisadza (MO L6) and Miya Scott (MO L6)

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