New appointment at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics

Professor Eric Sonnendrücker appointed as Scientific Fellow

August 29, 2012

New computational methods for fusion research are being developed by Mathematics Professor Dr. Eric Sonnendrücker, who on 1 September will commence his research work as Scientific Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching. Appointed jointly by the Max Planck Society and the Technical University of Munich, he will also be taking up a professorship at the university.

Prof. Dr. Eric Sonnendrücker

With Eric Sonnendrücker IPP is acquiring the services of an internationally outstanding mathematician who has specialised in the computational description of systems of charged particles, this being the subject investigated by plasma physics and fusion research: the goal of the research conducted at IPP is to develop a power plant that, like the sun, derives energy from fusion of atomic nuclei. The fuel used is an ionised hydrogen gas, a plasma. For ignition of the fusion fire it has to be confined in magnetic fields and heated to high temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees.

To solve by computer the complex systems of equations describing the plasma's behaviour, Eric Sonnendrücker has developed numerical methods and fast software for powerful computers as well as visualisation methods for the large quantities of data involved.

In France, he headed a project devoted to scientific computation for fusion, particularly for the ITER international experimental reactor, now being built at Cadarache (France). “I am looking forward to continuing these activities as head of the newly established Computational Plasma Physics Division at IPP”, states Eric Sonnendrücker, “and collaborating with IPP's theory divisions at Garching and Greifswald to devise powerful new computational methods for fusion research.”

Numerical simulation: a special plasma instability (left) is developing in a ring-shaped fusion plasma.

Eric Sonnendrücker, born 1967 in Strasbourg, studied mathematics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Cachan. After taking his PhD in 1995 he did research in Germany and the USA before being awarded his lecturership five years later at Nancy University with a dissertation entitled “Mathematical Analysis and Numerical Simulation of Plasmas and Particle Beams” and being appointed Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Strasbourg. From September 2012 Eric Sonnendrücker is now Scientific Fellow and Division Head at IPP.

Isabella Milch

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