Isabella Cooper-Brown: Fusion Energy Insights Intern
The "skills pipeline" and "talent" are becoming buzzwords in fusion. We need more people.
Fusion needs the younger generations--both right now as we develop fusion to commercialisation and the industry expands rapidly, but also in the future when the world is using fusion to power its cities and industries.
UKAEA's Fusion Industry Programme (the Education scheme) is one initiative aiming to increase the supply of highly-skilled students into the fusion sector by funding internships in fusion businesses. And we have had two interns!
Isabella Cooper-Brown has been working with Fusion Energy Insights this summer as part of the Fusion Industry Programme. Read on to find out a bit more about her.
Where and what are you currently studying?
I’m going into my second year of Materials Science (MEng) at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford.
What are your career aspirations/what are your plans after you have completed your degree?
I don’t know what research projects will be available to me by the time I start my Masters, but if I could pick today, I would join the research of nanomaterials. The innovations in nanomaterials research have such broad potential applications and I’m looking forward to watching that happen over my lifetime.
What ignited your interest in Fusion Energy and what excites you about it?
The idea that we can replicate the power which fuels stars is still incredible to me. If we hadn’t done it already, it sounds like the kind of thing you’d read about in a science-fiction novel. But what really interests me is looking at the Fusion Energy industry up close and seeing all the pieces of the puzzle. The ongoing progress with superconductors, capacitors, stress testing, and about twenty other fields of research is so exciting, and yet not at all what most people think of when they imagine the obstacles in the way of breakeven.
What have you most enjoyed about being an intern for Fusion Energy Insights?
The collaboration. Before joining Fusion Energy Insights, I didn’t understand how key it is to the Fusion industry, and it’s been great to see it at every level.
I’ve been able to work at Melanie’s office and the Oxford Sigma offices on the Harwell Science and Innovation campus. I also got to visit Tokamak Energy, First Light Fusion, the UKAEA’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy with the other Fusion Industry Programme interns and attend talks given by Fusion Energy experts. I’ve yet to meet someone working in Fusion Energy who isn’t excited to welcome the next generation.
It’s the same dedication to collaboration which has also enabled projects like JET and ITER.
Share something about yourself, what do you like to do when not working/studying
I usually find writing new stories or editing old ones helps me feel human again if I’ve spent too many hours in a row sorting through data or formatting a lab report. I finished my first novel the summer before starting my degree, which I’m now editing to submit to literary agencies.
I also love to read anything about experiences or ideas which are new to me. I have just finished ‘If I Had Your Face’ by Frances Cha yesterday and started ‘The Art of Statistics’ by David Spiegelhalter today.