A Dartmouth College professor of physics and astronomy is among the members of a joint Dartmouth-University of New Hampshire (UNH) team that has been awarded a $1.7 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Barrett N. Rogers is among the grant's five principal participants. The grant will support a new center that will develop theoretical and computer simulation models for applications to controlled thermonuclear fusion and to the problems of turbulence and heating in the sun's environment. Of the $1.7 million, $545,000 will go directly to Dartmouth to support a research team Rogers will lead.
To be called the Cluster for Integrated Computation and Analysis of Reconnection and Turbulence, or CICART, the center will be headquartered at the University of New Hampshire. Amitava Bhattacharjee, Paul Professor of Space Science at the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), will serve as CICART director.
"The main premise of CICART is that some fundamental aspects of physics in fusion devices, smaller-scale laboratory experiments, and astrophysical plasmas can be viewed from a common perspective, and progress in any one of these interconnected fields is likely to lead to progress in others," says Bhattacharjee.
The principal participants have been drawn from the communities of applied mathematics, astrophysics, computational physics, fluid dynamics, and plasma physics. Rogers's research interests are in theoretical and computational plasma physics, which he explores through large-scale computer simulations. His contributions to the project will be in the areas of magnetic reconnection, which is the explosive release of the energy stored in plasma in magnetic fields, and plasma turbulence.
CICART will foster collaborations between scientists at UNH, Dartmouth, and two energy department laboratories. "I am delighted by the collaboration between UNH and Dartmouth. This project will build on expertise at both universities and will position New Hampshire well for future opportunities," says Martin Wybourne, vice provost for research.
The proposal for CICART was ranked top in the nation in the competitive award process at the DOE Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). This program supports basic research in a broad range of science and technology disciplines within DOE.
EPSCoR enhances funding opportunities in states that historically have had lower federal funding levels. Since New Hampshire became an EPSCoR state in 2004 more than $4.1 million has been awarded to support scientific research.
The EPSCoR program in New Hampshire is served by a statewide committee chaired by John Aber, vice president for research at UNH, and includes Wybourne and Director of Technology Transfer Alla Kan, as well as other academic and industry leaders, legislators, and state officials. "Our goal in the NH EPSCoR program is to leverage these federal grants as a foundation for technology-based economic development," Aber says.
By REBECCA BAILEY
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Last Updated: 12/17/08