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ISLA – 7

Group photo taken on the first day of the conference.

Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund Report – Naomi Mburu (2018, DPhil Engineering Science)

International Symposium on Liquid Metals Applications for Fusion (ISLA)

I would like to thank University College for assisting in funding my trip to Japan for the 7th International Symposium on Liquid Metals Applications for Fusion (ISLA) through the Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund. ISLA is a biennial meeting for researching looking at methods to improve fusion reactor operation using liquid metal plasma facing components. This was my first time orally presenting the work of my DPhil, and it was a wonderful opportunity to gain some much-needed feedback from top experts in my field before I submit my thesis.

The conference kicked off on the evening of December 12 with a Japanese tradition: karaoke! This was a great way to get to meet the other attendees informally before the presentations begun. One unique aspect of ISLA is that all presentations are given orally- there is no poster session. This allows newer researchers to gain the experience of orally presenting their work and creates a dynamic atmosphere of dialogue amongst the attendees.

Presenting my research

On 13 December, I presented my research on the design of an experiment to measure the impact of vertically and horizontally oriented magnetic fields on flowing liquid metal depth. That day, I met a researcher who is building a similar facility in Japan, and we had very fruitful conversations about the challenges around flowing liquid metals and best practices when making measurements of fluid depth. I look forward to maintaining the connections made during this conference as I continue to collect and analyse data for my thesis.

Model of the Large Helical Device at the National Institute of Fusion Sciences.

The remaining days were full of interesting presentations, and the evenings included trips around Nagoya to enjoy delicious Japanese cuisines. On Wednesday, we visited the National Institute for Fusion Science which houses the Large Helical Device, which is the second largest stellarator fusion device in the world. On the final night of the conference, we had dinner on the top floor of the Hilton Marriot with panoramic views of the city (followed by more karaoke!). We then took a group trip to Nagoya Castle the following day to learn more about the cultural history of the city.

After the conference, I had three days of self-funded exploration around Japan. I spent one day in Kyoto, where I visited several cultural landmarks, walked through a bamboo grove, sampled various Japanese delicacies and enjoyed beautiful views of the area from Arashiyama Monkey Park on Mt Arashiyama. I then took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo. I spent my final night in a capsule hotel in Japan, and explored the city with some friends for my final day.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 30 March 2023

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