Fusion energy is a possible long-term energy solution to provide the energy needed to drive economic growth and social development. Harnessing the energy of the Sun and stars here on Earth requires a detailed understanding of the behavior of matter at extreme temperature and density conditions. Massive simulations, using up to one million computer processors (equivalent to hundreds of thousands of laptops working simultaneously) play a critical role in this research. They allow us to test different theories and explore different fusion approaches, such as “fast ignition” of the fusion fuel. We will discuss the challenges associated with fusion modeling, and how the outstanding computational resources and advanced computer graphics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory help us to create a miniature Sun on Earth.

Student Lecture Notes

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Speaker Bios

Dr. Frederico Fiuza

Frederico Fiuza is a Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow at LLNL. He received his Masters degree in Physics and his PhD degree in Plasma Physics from Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST, Portugal) in 2007 and 2012, respectively. Between 2004 and 2012 he conducted his research at the Group of Lasers and Plasmas (IST) under the supervision of Prof. Luis Silva. During 2009, he was also a visiting scholar at the Plasma Simulation Group (UCLA) under the supervision of Prof. Warren Mori. He is interested in large-scale simulations of intense laser-plasma interactions, inertial confinement fusion, and laboratory astrophysics.

Dan Burns

Earth and Space Science and AP Physics Teacher
Los Gatos High School

Dan Burns has been teaching Earth and Space Science and AP Physics at Los Gatos High School since 1992. He is the LGHS science department chair and past president of the Northern California/Nevada American Association of Physics Teachers. He has worked on curriculum development and teacher workshops for the SETI Institute, the USGS, NASA, AAPT, and San Jose State University. He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois. Prior to becoming a teacher Dan was a senior research specialist for the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. Dan is an avid amateur astronomer and astrophotographer and has had several pictures published in astronomy magazines.