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Daniel Dudt

Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Adviser: Egemen Kolemen
Year of Study: G5
Undergraduate School: Bucknell University
Undergraduate Major: Mechanical Engineering

Personal Bio

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended Bucknell University, a small liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania. I have always been interested in energy systems and quickly developed a passion for nuclear fusion. I did some independent research on campus as an undergrad, but most of my prior research experience was through a summer research internship at a private company. I came to graduate school the year after I graduated college, and this is now my fifth year in Princeton.

Fun Fact

My favorite hobby is curling -- the Olympic ice sport with stones and brooms! In the winter I often travel across the continent to compete with my team. During our off-season in the summer, I enjoy kayaking on Lake Carnegie.

Research Pitch

I do computational research on stellarators: a promising type of nuclear fusion reactor. We have developed a new python code to model the performance of stellarators, which is much faster and cheaper than building experimental machines. The main goal of this project is to add more capabilities to the code. For example, we would like to know: What magnets would you need to build the machine? What are the levels of turbulence inside the reactor? How well does it confine energetic particles? This will involve understanding the theoretical physics objectives we wish to compute and then translating that into efficient code. A secondary goal is to use the code to find stellarator designs that would make better fusion reactors.

No prior knowledge of plasma physics is necessary -- we can teach you everything you need on the job. Most of your time on the project will involve software development, and you will learn valuable skills including: version control, continuous integration, documentation practices, automatic differentiation, GPU computing, parallelizing code, and more. This code has a growing user base, so your work will have a beneficial impact on the fusion community beyond our research group!

Plans for Summer 2022

Confirmed pairing; no longer looking for a mentee.

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