Ethan Attwood

University Of York

After a winding path that included materials science and medicine, I completed an integrated masters in Natural Sciences from the University of East Anglia. I then worked in London for four years as a data science consultant and software engineer, helping to build internal search engines for enterprises. The desire to pursue independent research to improve the world never quite left me however, so in 2021 I applied for an MSc in Fusion Energy at the University of York. This was an incredibly rewarding experience, and confirmed that returning to physics for postgraduate study was the right move.

My PhD project will be with Drs Peter Hill, David Dickinson and James Cook (UKAEA). Understanding the edge region of magnetically-confined fusion plasmas is critical to determining the operation of the entire device, and also presents some of the most complex physics. Multiple models such as particle-in-cell and finite elements are required to fully simulate this volatile region. My project comprises two main objectives, first to investigate how these models can be coupled together, and secondly to quantify the physical uncertainty in their results. This will use state-of-the-art supercomputing from ExCALIBUR, an ambitious project to bring UK research into the next generation of exa-scale computation.