18 October 2006

Plasma Sushi

Before I go to the subject, let me introduce some terms.

TUM - Technical University Munich (I do my PhD in Math/CS department of this University)

Garching - The place where some departments of the above mentioned university is located. Here you have Math, CS, Mechanical, Chemistry, Physics and Medical-Engg(?). This place also has GE-Global Research Centre, The Nuclear Plant (EI), Max Plank Institute (MPI) for Plasma Physics etc. This specific location of Garching is called "Garching-Forschungszentrum" - means Garching Research Centre. Now onwards abbreviated as GFZ.

U-Bahn - Underground Train or Metro

Along with the inauguration event of new UBahn to GFZ, there was an open door day for all the research institutes in the area. Every institute had to make some posters and exhibition of the things they do at present. In TUM also there was poster presentation and stuff like that. I am not planning to explain about the poster I presented along with Peter. It was some tech-stuff of mine. I want to just share the knowledge I gained from some other stalls.

In Max Plank institute, I went to the plasma physics area. There was a guided tour which was arranged by them. They took us first to the Fusion reactor. It was really amazing. I couldn’t believe it when the guide told that the temperature inside the torus of the reactor goes more than one million degree centigrade. Many of the things he explained were based on the simple things which we have learned in school - like Magnetic fields and Transformer coils etc. but in much more sophisticated way. After the long explanation from him, my doubt that physics or math is the real basic science was strengthened. I really want to write about this plasma stuff here. But it might be a little too complicated to explain without diagram and all. So I am not attempting to do that.

Later the group was taken to the power plant where they store the energy needed for the plasma/fusion reactor. They are not generating any power there. They just store it.

The idea is simple. They plug in their motor to the power-grid, the motor starts rotating. The motor rotates a steel cylinder which weighs 200 tons. The more time they run the motor, it accelerates the rotation of cylinder. Once the it is rotating at a speed of 2000 rpms, they switch off the motor. The whole energy has been transformed to the momentum of the steel cylinder. Now, using the usual AC/DC generator, they tap all the energy from the cylinder in just 10 seconds. They take about 10 minutes to come to 2000 rpms, and it is gone in 10 seconds!! :)

I was really excited by this new knowledge I gained. But there was something more to learn on that day.

As per my long time wish, I decided to try "sushi" for the first time in my life. I went to a Chinese restaurant. Along with the other stuff, I ordered sushi too. I still don’t understand why sushi is so damn famous! It was not just tasteless, it had raw meat and fish. I started eating and I felt the meat was raw. I didn’t care, actually I don’t care even now. After sometime, I was sure that it was raw. I went home and checked in the internet about sushi and realized that it is sometimes given with raw meat/fish. That's fine - but my problem is that it was tasteless!

Anyway, I was using the chopsticks quite like an expert.

So these were the things I learnt:

  1. Plasma physics / Power storage
  2. Sushi is not that great
  3. Chopsticks are not that difficult to use.

Signing off, Sands.


Joy-of-nothing said...

puking :((

Anonymous said...

`world without mathematics is a big zero' - Sphadikam

Sandeep Sadanandan said...


if there is no mathematics, then how can you mention "zero"?


Hiran said...

enteammo!! "zero" does not always refer to the number '0'. it can be referred to as `nothing' or `nil' also.

And that `@Sphadikam' was movie name. I forgot to post my name.


Sandeep Sadanandan said...


not ready to argue...

by the way... it's a pleasant surprise that it was you :)

W.V : slcdf

arun said...

Interesting man!!

luvd the way you described your learnings;)