Franz Ferdinand Locker is a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics at the University of Innsbruck. He is part of the complex and nonlinear dynamics group, led by professor Alexander Kendl. In his Ph.D. thesis he works on the problem of magnetic reconnection, i.e. the reorganization of magnetic fields in a magnetized plasma. The magnetic reconnection plays an important role on the Sun. The corona of our home star is much hotter than it should be, and up to now it is still not clear why that is. However, a strongly held opinion is that the magnetic reconnection redistributes energy to the particles and heats them up.
Magnetic reconnection also plays a role in fusion, as the tokamak also contains a magnetized plasma. In this case it can lead to disturbances of the plasma’s confinement. The confinement time – that is the time that the plasma can be kept confined – is important for the power output. By including magnetic reconnection into the equations, his working group tries to find general conditions that improve confinement.
In this Interview, he talks about why fusion is necessary, and not just an option. He also explains why for him the biggest challenges have to do with plasma confinement.
To learn more about Franz Locker, his work, his plans for the future and why a book is responsible for his decision to work in fusion, watch the interview below.