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“Cornell ECE Professor Pierre-Alexandre Gourdain receives $420K NSF award to investigate the effect of magnetic field on high energy density plasma dynamics, with potential applications to fusion energy and astrophysics”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pierre Alexandre Gourdain, Visiting Assistant Professor, ECE

Cornell ECE Professor Pierre-Alexandre Gourdain received a $420K award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how magnetic fields are mixing in high energy density plasmas. This research aims at answering an open question, which is of great interest to the international scientific community, in particular thermonuclear fusion and astrophysics. With this award, Professor Gourdain will compare experimental results to numerical computations, aiming at validating advanced plasma models. The project will also study the interaction of the magnetic field with supersonic plasma flows, which are ubiquitous astrophysical occurrences encountered in supernovae and accretion disks surrounding black holes.

Prof. Gourdain has been working in the field of theoretical plasma physics since he completing his B.S. in 1996. He earned his Ph.D. in 2001 in theoretical plasma physics from Ecole Centrale de Lyon and UCLA where he worked on the Electric Tokamak until 2008. He then joined the faculty of Cornell's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. As a member of Cornell's Laboratory of Plasmas Studies, Pierre’s research focuses on the study of high energy density plasmas. This new and emerging branch of plasma physics may very well change the world by producing a clean stable source of energy known as fusion power!

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