Universiteit Leiden

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This Week’s Discoveries | 20 september 2016

20 september 2016
Oort Building
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
De Sitterzaal

First Lecture

Title: Lipid membrane-mediated attraction between curvature inducing objects
Speaker: Casper van der Wel (LION) Casper is a PhD student in the Kraft Heinrich lab of the Biological and Soft matter group at LION.

Proteins organize themselves around our body cells through a self-induced force. They indent the cell membrane, which makes them roll towards each other. This discovery provides new insights into processes like nutritional uptake and brain signaling, as well as into such diseases as Alzheimer’s. The results were published in Nature’s Scientific Reports on line version of September 13.

Second Lecture, Lorentz Center Highlight

Title: Self-organized helical fusion plasmas: when kinking matters
Speaker: Piero Martin (University of Padova)

Piero is full professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova and EUROfusion Consortium and an active researcher in the field of thermonuclear fusion. He is one of the organizers of the Lorentz Center workshop “Taming the Flame; Divertor Detachment Control in Tokamaks” that is being held from 19 September through 23 September.

In the quest for new energy sources, the research on controlled thermonuclear fusion explores the magnetic confinement of hot plasmas. Various spatial configurations of the magnetic field have been explored. The tokamak is the one which, up till now, has achieved the best performance and where most of resources are concentrated. Alternative concepts are however actively researched. Among these is the reversed-field pinch, where a spontaneous transition to a helical equilibrium occurs, with a change of magnetic topology resulting in improved confinement (Lorenzini et al., Nature Physics 5, 2009). This transition is an elegant example of plasma self-organization towards a 3-dimensional helical state. Starting from this result the talk will highlight how 3D helical structures, which were in the past often considered the result of instabilities and therefore to be avoided, might be an important and useful feature of magnetically confined fusion plasmas.