Let there be light

Shahnaz Hoque, a first year Fusion CDT student based at the University of Oxford, reports on an event she organised in June 2018:

“I am a first year DPhil student at the University of Oxford, on the Fusion CDT and sponsored by CCFE.

In June, I organised a public showing of the fusion film, ‘Let There Be Light.’ It has won several film festival awards around the world and was a nominee at the 2017 SXSW film festival. Although I have seen many documentaries about fusion through the years, they don’t often receive so many acclamations!

The event was held at Lincoln College, Oxford. After the film there was a panel discussion and Q&A. It was a pleasure to have Sir Steven Cowley, the President of Corpus Christi College and recently the former director of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), attend and participate in the discussion. The scientist from the film, Dr Mark Henderson (Electron Cyclotron Section Leader at ITER) also flew over from France to participate.

Although fusion faces a great number of technical challenges to be successful, there is also a major hurdle of public perception and awareness that must be overcome. People are not aware of the huge international effort that is being undertaken and the potential benefit of clean, unlimited energy for the world. I and many of those in the fusion community were inspired to become educated in our fields, so we could help face some of these challenges. There are many reasons that motivate people towards education and I think it can often stem from the feeling that one gets when watching a movie such as this, which reminds us of our potential to work together to solve some of the fundamental challenges in the world.

It was an excellent academic event and film showing, on a subject that many know a little about but are keen to find out more and discuss”.