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We're scientists at the Max Planck Institute for plasma physics, where the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment has just heated its first hydrogen plasma to several million degrees. Ask us anything!
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Hi Reddit, we’re a team of plasma physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics that has 2 branches in Garching (near Munich) and Greifswald (in northern Germany). We’ve recently launched our fusion experiment Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald after several years of construction and are excited about its ongoing first operation phase. In the first week of February, we created our first hydrogen plasma and had Angela Merkel press our big red button. We’ve noticed a lot of interest on reddit about fusion in general and our experiment following the news, so here we are to discuss anything and everything plasma and fusion related! Here’s a nice article with a cool video that gives an overview of our experiment. And here is the ceremonial first hydrogen plasma that also includes a layman’s presentation to fusion and our experiment as well as a view from the control room. Answering your questions today will be: Prof Thomas Sunn Pedersen - head of stellarator edge and divertor physics (ts, will drop by a bit later) Michael Drevlak - scientist in the stellarator theory department (md) Ralf Kleiber - scientist in the stellarator theory department (rk) Joaquim Loizu - postdoc in stallarator theory (jl) Gabe Plunk - postdoc in stallarator theory (gp) Josefine Proll - postdoc in stellarator theory (jp) (so many stellarator theorists!) Adrian von Stechow - postdoc in laboratory astrophyics (avs) Felix Warmer (fw) We will be going live at 13:00 UTC (8 am EST, 5 am PST) and will stay online for a few hours, we’ve got pizza in the experiment control room and are ready for your questions. EDIT 12:29 UTC: We’re slowly amassing snacks and scientists in the control room, stay tuned! http://i.imgur.com/2eP7sfL.jpg EDIT 13:00 UTC: alright, we’ll start answering questions now! EDIT 14:00 UTC: Wendelstein cookies! http://i.imgur.com/2WupcuX.jpg EDIT 15:45 UTC: Alright, we’re starting to thin out over here, time to pack up! Thanks for all the questions, it’s been a lot of work but also good fun!