The first plasma is due to be shot in autumn this year, but MAST-Upgrade has already got under the skin of Ivan Lupelli. The Data Scientist now proudly displays a tattoo which shows the Spherical Tokamak’s plasma. Fusion in Europe asked what drove him to lend the experiment some of his skin.

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Why did you choose this particular image?

I was discussing fusion as a source of clean energy and its prospects for a sustainable future with a friend of mine; Ilaria Meli who is also a tattoo artist. She was so impressed by the passionate scientific community and their efforts worldwide that she suddenly said “You should get a tattoo!!!” So, after a week of research, I chose an image from MAST that I found in our archives and got it tattooed! I discovered recently that that the image is from my current boss, Rob Akers. It is a simulation of a particular MAST-U Super-X configuration.

Ivan Lupelli is passionate about data-driven analysis, machine learning and the use of predictive modelling to draw meaningful insights from big nuclear fusion data. Picture: © Copyright protected by United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

Ivan Lupelli is passionate about data-driven analysis, machine learning and the use of predictive modelling to draw meaningful insights from big nuclear fusion
data. Picture: © Copyright protected by United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

What did he say when he saw it?

He wasn’t the slightest bit surprised because he knows how enthusiastic I am about the UK fusion programme and my insistence upon accuracy. The latter point worries him. He is concerned that I might be moving on to ITER physics one day and is wondering where I will find space to put the ‘ITER ink’, because I will need to find a large body part since he is sure that I would try to achieve a 1:1 scale relative to the MAST-U tattoo.

Why did you choose to put the tattoo on your forearm?

Because it’s easy to see and easy to cover up, depending on the situation. It arouses curiosity in those who haven’t seen it before and proves to be an excellent talking point with people when it comes to my work at CCFE and the world fusion programme in general.

Do you have any more fusion related pieces?

No. Now I have the machine on my skin, I hope that I can add some new exciting results soon!

After all, what does MAST-U mean to you personally?

MAST-U will be the first machine that my younger colleagues and I have seen developed from genesis, through design to construction. It will be the first demonstration of the “Super-X divertor” in the world, so we feel a great responsibility to deliver high quality data to both the UK scientists and the EUROfusion community.