Paul Ennever

Paul Ennever, graduate student in the Physics department

PSFC Monthly Student Vignette — PAUL ENNEVER


Paul Ennever is a 6th year graduate student in the Physics department who works on Alcator C-Mod. Ennever was born in Cleveland, but lived in New York City from age 6 when he started 2nd grade until age 21 when he left for MIT to work on Alcator C-Mod.

He has worked on C-Mod since the summer of 2009, after graduating from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science with a degree in Applied Physics. While at Columbia, Ennever worked in the lab of Professor Thomas Pedersen who worked on C-Mod for his PhD. In Pedersen’s lab he worked on the Columbia Non-neutral Torus (CNT), which was a simple stellarator for confining pure-electron plasmas. While working there, he built a miniature version of CNT in a glass vacuum chamber. This miniCNT, as it was called, produced an plasma from a negatively biased halogen bulb filament, which became trapped in the magnetic field. When the electrons from this plasma collided with the trace background air they produced blue light, so in effect you could “see” the magnetic field structure glowing blue. MiniCNT was brought to the 2009 APS DPP meeting in Chicago.

While at MIT Ennever’s main research interest has been plasma turbulence, which he measures using the phase contrast imaging diagnostic. He is continuing work done at MIT by post-doc James Dorris on the effect of the dilution of main ions on turbulent energy transport. He has run experiments in the 2012, 2014, and 2015 C-Mod experimental campaigns to test the effect of impurities on turbulent energy transport, and then compares the results of those experiments to simulations of turbulence with gyrokinetic codes developed at General Atomics. He has used millions of CPU-hours in his thesis work, both on the PSFC’s local cluster, Loki, and on the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) supercomputers. His work in this area was recently published in a Physics of Plasmas article entitled “The effects of dilution on turbulence and transport in C-Mod ohmic plasmas and comparisons with gyrokinetic simulations”.

In his spare time Ennever enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee (he was a member of MIT’s team from 2010 - 2013), and playing online video games with his friends, brother, and fiance, where he plays under the alias “Tokamak”. His current favorite game is Defense of the Ancients 2 (aka DotA 2).

Topics: Alcator C-Mod tokamak