Plasma Physics Summer School: a short introduction
The Plasma Physics Summer School (PPSS) is held at the P-24, Plasma Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) over a period of approximately 10 weeks during summer. The goal of the Plasma Physics Summer School is to educate LANL undergraduate students (UGS) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) in the field of plasma physics and to attract prospective upper level students to the laboratory later on in post-doctoral, or staff positions. In order to qualify for PPSS, participants must be UGS or GRA at LANL during the Summer School. No clearance is required. We strongly encourage the participation from different LANL divisions to broaden and share student experiences. In FY02, students were recruited from Northern New Mexico Community College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Mexico Tech, Stanford, University of New Mexico - Los Alamos, University of Michigan, Cornell, Purdue, Princeton, and the University of Bordeaux.
The School program consists of two parts: a seminar series and mentored research projects.
Seminar series: two student seminars are held per week at P-24 and they are open to all UGS or GRA at LANL. The first class involves a lecture on plasma physics followed during the same week by a general presentation on a research topic closely related to the lecture material. These talks are designed to give the students an experimental perspective, not only to connect the physics to the equations students will encounter as plasma physicists, but also to illustrate applications in research at LANL. Fundamental principles are introduced, together with a broad range of applications. No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed. Topics include:
Plasma particle dynamics
Waves in plasmas
Fusion and Basics plasma physics experiments
Space and Astrophysical plasmas
Research projects: UGS and GRA at P-24 Division are assigned a research project that extends for the full ten-week term of the Summer School. The facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory provide capabilities that go far beyond that available at universities. The Laboratory has a number of unique projects that are at the forefront of experimental science. During the FY02 program, students worked on significant and unique experimental infrastructure such as the TRIDENT laser facility, Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) project, Reconnection Scaling Experiment (RSX), and ultra fast pulse laser experiments. A mentor from LANL (technical staff members or PostDocs) directs the project. The particular projects vary from year to year and are selected from both theoretical and experimental projects. In order to complete the summer school, the students will be required to give a presentation of their summer work in relation to the principles they learned during the lectures. This will help them to develop presentation skills and provide a dry run for their poster presentation at the Summer Student Open House at LANL. A certificate of attendance will be given to the students to signify their accomplishment.
During the Summer School, interesting visits to laboratories at LANL are organized for students.
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