This year’s Association Day at EURATOM-ÖAW focused on young scientists.

28th Association Day

(Picture: ÖAW)

On 18 October 2013, the Association EURATOM-ÖAW organised its 28th Association Day – the annual gathering of the Associations’ scientists to discuss their work – in Salzburg. The Austrian Association forms a stable framework for the fusion-relevant research performed by eleven research groups from five institutions across the country (Universität Innsbruck, TU Wien, Erich Schmid Institut for Material Science, Research Studios Austria and TU Graz). In this context, there are two important tasks to be accomplished by the Association: to motivate young people to become part of the “Generation ITER” and to keep a repository of fresh knowledge generated in the framework of PhD theses. To underline this, the Association invited its young members to present their PhD theses. The invited guest speaker this year was Prof. Sibylle Günter, Scientific Director of IPP Garching, who introduced the future EUROfusion consortium – which also considers “forming the generation ITER” to be one of its objectives.

Elisabeth Wieninger and Monika Fischer from EURATOM-ÖAW asked some of the students why they chose a fusion-relevant topic for their PhD:

Plasmas are dynamic phenomena …. the longer I worked with molecular dynamic simulations, the more involved I got.

I was fascinated by plasmas, and then I found a position for my thesis dealing with plasma turbulence.

One of my colleagues works with Plasma-Wall Interactions. I thought ‘this is pretty interesting’ and found a thesis position on a similar project – and somehow everything fell into place.

I want to work in an experimental field with visible results – and I like my colleagues at the University of Innsbruck!

I want to create a better world – and physics gives me the tools for a change on the energy sector.

I originally wanted to study quantum physics, but I could not find a suitable opportunity, so I turned to plasma physics, another promising subject of great diversity.

I started to study astrophysics, but after a while I had the urge for an approach with a sound theoretical basis and turned to plasma physics and this is definitely not the end of my journey.