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Molvig, Kim, 22.012 Seminar: Fusion and Plasma Physics, Spring 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare),  (Accessed 07 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Seminar: Fusion and Plasma Physics

Spring 2006

The Tokamak is the most developed fusion concept.
Fusion is an attractive domestic energy source. The most developed fusion concept is the Tokamak, shown in this image. (Image courtesy of the Department of Energy, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.)

Course Highlights

This course features a partial set of lecture notes and sample student projects in the assignments section. In addition, Web resources supplementing class materials are available in the related resources section.

Course Description

This course uses lectures and discussion to introduce the range of topics relevant to plasma physics and fusion engineering. An introductory discussion of the economic and ecological motivation for the development of fusion power is also presented. Contemporary magnetic confinement schemes, theoretical questions, and engineering considerations are presented by expert guest lecturers. Students enrolled in the course also tour the Plasma Science and Fusion Center experimental facilities.


Course Description

Fusion Energy has the potential to provide almost unlimited amounts of electric power with minimal environmental impact. This seminar covers a range of plasma and fusion energy topics, including discussion of the Global Energy Picture, the Physics of Fusion, Fusion Reactors and Tokamaks. A Tour of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center including the Alcator C-MOD Tokamak is part of the seminar. In addition, other fusion related topics are discussed including Plasma Rockets for Manned Space Missions and Plasma Fuel Converters for Environmentally Improved Cars and Trucks.

Course Requirements

Attendance and participation are a significant part of the final grade in this course so students are expected to attend all class sessions. There are no problem sets, exams, or required textbooks for the course. There will be a short term paper, of 1 to 10 pages (or Microsoft® PowerPoint® equivalent), on one of the subjects discussed in class. Students may pair up for this project. The term papers and presentations are due in class on Lec #13 and Lec #14.


The final grade for the course will be based on the following:

activities percentages
Term Paper 40%
Attendance and Participation 60%


This section contains the schedule of topics for the course.

Lec # topics instructors
1 Global Energy Picture Prof. Molvig
2 Nuclear Physics of Fusion Prof. Molvig
3 Physics of Magnetic Confinement Prof. Molvig
4 Alcator C-MOD and LDX (Levitated Dipole) Tour Ms. Andrea Schmidt
5 Fusion Reactors: The Ultimate Nuclear Power Plant Prof. Parker
6 Physics of Fusion Experiments Dr. Terry
7 Simulating Basic Plasma Physics with Computers Prof. Hutchinson
8 MHD for Fusion: Where Next? Prof. Friedberg
9 Plasma Rockets for Manned Space Missions Dr. Batischev
10 Fusion without Neutrons using p-B11 Fuel Prof. Molvig
11 Superconducting Magnets for ITER (International Tokamak Experimental Reactor) Dr. Minervini
12 Disruptions in Tokamaks Dr. Granetz
13 Paper Presentations and Discussions All
14 Paper Presentations and Discussions (cont.) All   Tell A Friend