May 25, 2016
On May 16, five members of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) community, selected by the Office of the Provost along with the Office of the Vice President for Research, received 2016 MIT Infinite Mile Awards.
A team of four postdocs – Dan Brunner (PhD '13), Ted Golfinopoulos (PhD, 14), Zach Hartwig (PhD '14) and Bob Mumgaard (PhD '15) – were honored for helping to revitalize the fusion energy research mission at the PSFC. Center director Dennis Whyte praised them, noting that their efforts “completely opened our eyes to a new way of doing and supporting our fusion energy mission in the private sector. Their exercise culminated in designing and proposing “SPARC,” which takes some of the key magnet technological innovations found from the ARC conceptual design for a fusion pilot plant and shrinks this down into a rapid, conceptual prototype to demonstrate for the first time net energy gain from controlled fusion.” The team was further lauded for their outreach activities, and keen abilities communicating science to the general public.”
A separate Infinite Mile Award went to technical supervisor Bill Parkin, who is responsible for most of the custom electronics infrastructure in the PSFC’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak. Over the past two years, Parkin has also supervised the construction of specialized and complex instrumentation for the project. A colleague noted, “What makes Bill so valuable to the Alcator program is the generous way he helps researchers. C-Mod engineers have become accustomed to scratching out a design on a napkin and handing it to Bill with total confidence that he will take care of the details and get it done.” Parkin was also singled out for his positive, professional attitude, and dedication.
The Infinite Mile Award recognized those individuals, or teams, who have made extraordinary contributions within their own organizations to help ensure that the Institute carries out its mission, i.e, to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.
Topics: Magnetic fusion energy