Studying the intricacies and mysteries of the sun is physicist Wendell Horton life’s work. A widely known authority on plasma physics, his study of the high temperature gases on the sun, or plasma, consistently leads him around the world to work on a diverse range of projects that have great impact.
Fusion energy is one such key scientific issue that Horton is investigating and one that has intrigued researchers for decades.
It’s no secret that the demand for energy around the world is outpacing the supply. Fusion energy has tremendous potential, however, harnessing the power of the sun for this burgeoning energy source requires extensive work.
Through the Institute for Fusion Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, Horton collaborates with researchers at ITER, a fusion lab in France and the National Institute for Fusion Science in Japan to address these challenges. At ITER, Horton is working with researchers to build the world’s largest tokamak—the device that is leading the way to produce fusion energy in the laboratory.
Perfecting the design of the tokamak is essential to producing fusion energy
and since it is not fully developed, Horton performs supercomputer simulations on the Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to model plasma flow and turbulence inside the device.
"Simulations give us information about plasma in three dimensions and in time, so that we are able to see details beyond what we would get with analytic theory and probes and high-tech diagnostic measurements," Horton said
Read more at PhysOrg.