Small, modular & economically attractive fusion enabled by high-field superconductors

MON, 03/18/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Spring 2019 Colloquium Series

The origin, development and new opportunities of an accelerated strategy for magnetic fusion energy based on the high-field approach are developed. This approach confinement devices are designed at the maximum possible value of vacuum magnetic field strength, B. The integrated electrical, mechanical and cooling engineering challenges of high-field large-bore electromagnets are described. These engineering challenges are confronted because of the profound science advantages provided by high-B: high fusion power density, ~B4, in compact devices, thermonuclear plasmas with significant stability margin, and, in tokamaks, access to higher plasma density. Two distinct magnetic fusion strategies were previously allowed: either compact, cryogenically-cooled copper devices with Bcoil>20 T, orlarge-volume, Nb3Sn superconductor device with Bcoil < 12 T. The second path was exclusively chosen ca. 2000 with the ITER construction decision. Yet since that decision, a new opportunity has arisen: compact, Rare Earth Barium Copper Oxide (REBCO) superconductor-based devices with Bcoil > 20 T; a strategy that essentially combines the best components of the two previous strategies. This new strategy is materialized in the recently announced SPARC project, which looks to build a highly compact net energy magnetic fusion device, solely funded by the private sector. The science and fusion energy development mission of SPARC will be described.

About the Speaker:

A recognized leader in the field of fusion research using the magnetic confinement of plasmas
for energy production on a faster, smaller, and more innovative path. Professor Whyte is a
Fellow of the American Physical Society, has over 300 publications, and is heavily involved as an
educator. He is widely recognized for his themes of innovation and the need for speed and
economic viability in fusion. He has served on panels for the National Academies, the U.S.
government, and the Royal Society. As PSFC director he presents the center’s vision to peer
institutions and recruits faculty and scientists to the team. The core of the SPARC project was
formed over eight years ago during a design course led by Dennis to challenge assumptions in
fusion. Many of the ideas underpinning the high-field approach — including the use of HTS for
high-field, demountable magnets, liquid blankets, and ARC — have been conceived of or
significantly advanced in these courses. Dennis’s bold leadership as PSFC director and
Department Head has been a key enabler for the SPARC project, providing the stature
necessary to bring the institutional and outside support to the project.

CSS 2019 Graduate Student Fellowship Announcement

CCS 2019 Graduate Student Fellowship Announcement

March 12, 2019

The Center for Chinese Studies offers annual competitive fellowships for continuing graduate students in Chinese studies. Applications must be received by email by April 1, 2019. Late applications will not be considered. 
Applications and more information here: 

  • CCS Language Study Grants
  • Dissertation Writing fellowships 
  • MA Student Fellowships
  • Republic of China East Asian Fellowships
  • CCS Summer Research Grants
  • Chu Fellowships
  • Liu Graduate Research Fellowships
  • Joseph R. Levenson Chinese Studies Awards
  • Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Fellowship in Chinese Studies
  • Pamela and Kenneth Fong Graduate Student Fellowships

Students may apply for more than one CCS award but may apply to only one of the five Center/Institute competitions, so should carefully consider which one best suits their needs.

Graduate students applying for these awards should be registered at Berkeley or on approved travel status during the award period.

Please contact with questions.

Disorder-based Instruments and Methods for Sensitive Nuclear Inspections

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MON, 03/11/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Spring 2019 Colloquium Series

Verifying states compliance with international agreements requires trustworthy data.  Acquiring such data requires, in turn, measurement systems that are considered secure by all parties. This is particularly challenging in cases where measurements are conducted in sensitive environments among mutually distrustful parties, for example, as part of verifying compliance with deep nuclear arms-reduction or denuclearization agreements. In this context, measurements on possibly classified items, such as nuclear weapons, are expected to take place during the inspection of military facilities with devices that must be procured in the absence of a trusted-third-party supplier. To address this challenge, this talk introduces “disorder-based” instruments and methods that enable new approaches to the secure inspection of sensitive nuclear activities, sites, and assets, including the possibility for an inspected party to perform minimally intrusive measurements on behalf of inspectors located off-site.

About the Speaker:

Sébastien Philippe is a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research interests include nuclear science and cryptography, especially relating to monitoring and verification technologies; and international relations and policy. His current research explore new approaches to secure and trusted information collection, analysis, and sharing to enable and support the development and verification of new international agreements. In parallel, Philippe pursues research interests on nuclear archaeology and the reconstruction of unsafeguarded uranium trade as an invited fellow with the Nuclear Knowledge Program at Sciences-Po Paris. He is associate editor of the peer-reviewed journal Science and Global Security. He holds a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

Out for Undergrad Application Round One is Open

Out for Undergrad Application Round One is Open

March 11th, 2019

If you're not familiar with Out for Undergrad (O4U) or the O4U Engineering Conference, you can learn more about it on the website here: To keep it short and sweet, it is a weekend-long professional development conference for high achieving, high potential LGBTQ+ undergraduate students who are studying engineering or interested in going into engineering.

This year’s O4U Engineering Conference will be held at Boston Scientific in Minneapolis, Minnesota from September 27th to September 29th. The application deadline for round one admissions is March 23rd, 2019 at 11:59 PM (EST).

Students are admitted to attend the conference on a rolling basis. Flights and hotels are covered entirely by O4U, so if students are admitted from your college/university, they will only have to pay the $90 registration fee. We also offer fee waivers, discounts, and payment plans to students who are not able to afford the registration fee.

If there are any additional questions/concerns, please feel free to reach out to the O4U Engineering Admissions Team at

NE Faculty Rebecca Abergel and BioActinide group highlighted in C&EN

NE Faculty Rebecca Abergel and BioActinide group highlighted in C&EN

March 4th, 2019


NE faculty Rebecca Abergel and her BioActinide group were recently highlighted in an article on Chemical and Engineering News. To read the article, please click here:


To learn more about the BioActinide group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, click here:

Iridium an Important Neutron Flux Monitor

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MON, 03/04/2019 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
Spring 2019 Colloquium Series

Iridium has been used for decades at Los Alamos as a fluence monitor in underground nuclear testing. Iridium can be used to monitor three neutron spectral groups at once, thermal/epithermal, 14 MeV, and fission spectrum (>2 MeV). The nuclear reaction Ir-193(n,n')Ir-193m
has not had a model independent cross section, until recently. The first measurement of the cross section was made last fall at the Berkeley HFNG.

About the Speaker:

Robert Rundberg received a PhD. in physical chemistry from the City University of New York under the mentorship of Radiochemists Harmon Finston and Evan Williams. He has worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for over 40 years. He has measured various nuclear cross sections ranging from pion nuclear reactions to neutron capture.