Portrait of a young scientist: meet Fulvio Bertocchi

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SESAME Newsletter #1 (March 2016) 

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Portrait of a young scientist: meet Fulvio Bertocchi

1. Could you briefly describe your role and responsibilities in the SESAME project?
I joined the project in September 2015 with the start of my PhD at TU Delft, although SESAME had kicked off already in April. Part of the project’s goals is to develop new thermal hydraulic numerical codes for the next generation of liquid-cooled nuclear reactors. Experimental benchmarks will validate these codes, and my research group and I have to provide the reference point. I am currently busy with designing two experimental setups where I will be carrying out experiments via LDA and PIV techniques.

2. What do you enjoy most about your involvement in SESAME?
SESAME is the fruit of a collaboration between several institutes, and there are young scientists and more experienced colleagues. When we discuss our progress and future works during meetings, it is really inspiring to see how open everyone is to every kind of criticism and suggestion, while defending their idea or hypothesis. I guess I am not defining something new, but just highlighting what research and collaboration really means.

3. What would you say is/will be your biggest challenge?
The PhD I am pursuing has a dual nature, based on the collaboration of TU Delft with other institutes. The academic side allows me to pursue the scientific questions my group and I are considering. The requirements from the other European partners are different. They aim to provide insight into the physics of next generation nuclear reactors, however they also include  the support and collaboration of computer modelling groups, and this implies we have to conciliate the needs of both sides.

Sometimes it is difficult for the scientists to measure what is required by the other partners, and other times it is hard to model the reality due to error sources. I would say that the need to combine these two aspects of the PhD is and will be the most challenging aspect, even though the opportunities for pursuing a lot of science for everyone is great thanks to the wide research topic.