Posted on: 25th October 2017
EUROfusion welcomed hundreds of people to its stand at the annual science outreach event, the Garching Open Doors. The event showcased over 30 research institutes that call the Garching Forschungszentrum campus their home.
With Operation Tokamak, the video game that simulates the work of a tokamak operator, an energy-generating bicycle, and a smoke gun that shot out torus-shaped rings, the EUROfusion stand attracted the young and the old alike. Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manager, who was at the stand answered questions about fusion and said that he was positively surprised at the interest the public showed. “These kinds of events are especially a great opportunity to meet the students who are really keen to learn more about the field,” he said. “I also got a chance to talk about how over the years spin-offs stemming from fusion research has helped other fields,” he added.
But the highlight of the day was the German premier of the fusion documentary Let There Be Light. Over a hundred people queued up and reserved their spots for the screening later in the day. Petra Nieckchen, Head of Communications, was extremely pleased with the attendance of the booth and the public viewing. “I was worried first that visitors wouldn’t come and ask questions because the event was in English only” and she added: “But the Garching campus is a great place to be for a European consortium like ours!” The documentary is the brain-child of award-winning director Mila Aung-Thwin. He spent four years filming people who have dedicated their lives to making fusion energy a reality on Earth. From those involved in ITER to those working on smaller undertakings in US and Canada, one common ambition ties the researchers together: the passion to realise fusion energy, no matter how long it takes.
And one of these researchers, who also happens to be a protagonist in the film, ITER scientist Mark Henderson, flew in from France to attend the screening and participate in the following Q&A session. The Q&A session was an opportunity for the public to interact with fusion experts, Mark and Tony. “Many people do not have a clear understanding of exactly what fusion research is and why it is a challenge” said Mark. “The movie along with the Q&A gives a great platform to the fusion community to continue communicating about fusion and explaining to the larger public about why realising fusion energy is important to humankind,” he added.