Senior members

 

Prof. Paolo Ricci
EPFL card

Paolo Ricci earned his master’s degree in nuclear engineering at the Politecnico di Torino, Turin (Italy). His doctoral studies were conducted at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, with focus on kinetic simulation of magnetic reconnection in the Earth’s magnetotail. He spent two-and-a-half years as a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth College’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, where he worked on gyrokinetic simulations of the Z pinch. In 2006, he joined the SPC as a EURATOM fellow, and was named Tenure Track Assistant Professor in June 2010.  He is at the head of the SPC theory group.

 

MER Dr. Stephan Brunner
EPFL card

Stephan Brunner obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the EPFL in 1998 for work related to the study of microinstabilities in magnetised plasmas. He then joined the theory group at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) for 3 years, carrying out research related to Laser Plasma Interaction in collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). After 2 additional years in industry, developing numerical simulation tools for molecular modeling, he has returned to the SPC in 2003. His main current research activities are related to the development and application of Eulerian and PIC codes for studying kinetic effects in magnetic and inertial fusion relevant plasmas.

 

MER Dr. Jonathan Graves
EPFL card

Jonathan Graves earned his Ph.D through the University of Nottingham, while working at the plasma physics theory department of Culham Laboratory, UkAEA Fusion, Oxfordshire, UK. His thesis work on fast ion kinetic effects on the sawtooth instability and the internal kink mode was completed in 1999. This was followed by postdoctoral work in the defense sector, and then the University of Nottingham where research into complex systems was conducted, and in particular on stochastic cellular automata modelling. In 2001 he started working at SPC-EPFL. His current research activities are related to a kinetic description of MHD instabilities, with application to describing the influence of energetic particles on MHD modes, and vice-versa. The work is applied to the interpretation of experiments, and to the design of new experiments, with the goal of testing theoretical models and improving the experimental control of instabilities. To this end he has led experiments at the Joint European Torus.

 

MER Dr. Olivier Sauter
EPFL card

Olivier Sauter obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from the EPFL in 1992 for a work related to the study of plasma-wave interaction including the effects of Larmor radius to all orders in ICRF (link to EPFL thesis). He then joined the theory group at General Atomics (San Diego) for one year, carrying out research related neoclassical transport and bootstrap current. He returned for 2 years at SPC, studying microinstabilities and transport and then moved back for 1 1/2 year in San Diego at the ITER Joint Central Team, sent by EU, to study the ITER design in terms of plasma macro-stability. He started working on neoclassical tearing modes for that purpose. Since 1997 he is back to SPC and his main activities are related to the physics interpretation of experimental results and to designing experiments aimed at testing theoretical understanding. He has been Task Force Leader of the TF-M at JET between 1999-2001 and he has lead experiments on JET, AUG, DIII-D and of course TCV. He collaborates on MHD, transport and heating and current drive issues, as well as integrating modelling issues.

 

Prof. Laurent Villard
EPFL card

Laurent Villard obtained his PhD in 1987 for a work on the computation of Alfvén and ICRF waves in tokamak plasmas (link to EPFL thesis). After 3 years spent abroad in development cooperation projects he came back to SPC in 1990. He was appointed Assistant Professor in 1993 and Adjunct Professor in 2005. His research interests include the fast ion driven instabilities of the Alfvén wave, MHD equilibrium and stability of toroidal plasmas and small scale turbulence simulations based on gyrokinetic theory making use of High Performance Computing (HPC).