Professor Matthew Hole is an ITER Science Fellow at the School of Computing and an expert in fusion energy science, specialising in magnetic confinement fusion.
He is the public face of fusion energy research in Australia, and has given numerous interviews to media and written numerous outreach articles.
Professor Hole holds degrees in physics, mathematics and electrical engineering, and completed a PhD on plasma centrifuge physics at the University of Sydney. During 2001-2002 he worked for the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority on fusion power on the innovative spherical tokamak concept. From 2003-2004 Professor Hole worked on space plasma physics in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. Since 2005, he has worked with Professor Dewar of the Plasma Theory Modelling Group at ANU, and as lead of the group from 2011.
He is an expert in the physics basis of toroidal confinement fusion, their underpinning mathematical models and their (typically computational) solution, modelling of stochastic systems, Bayesian inference, the design of high frequency magnetic diagnostics, and the detailed modelling of low temperature cylindrical plasmas. His current focus of research is mathematical modelling of toroidal confinement configurations (equilibrium), their stability, and energetic particle physics.
He has attracted ~$3.3m in competitive funding, including a first round ARC Future Fellowship, private investment through the US Simons Foundation, and philanthropic support. In total he has supervised nearly 50 research students, across physics, mathematics and electrical engineering, and been nominated twice by students for an Award for Excellence in Research Supervision.
In 2005 Professor Hole founded the Australian ITER Forum, a growing consortium of more than 180 scientists and engineers drawn from universities, government research laboratories, private industry and the general public. The forum seeks to promote the science of fusion energy through advocacy of Australian involvement in the world’s largest science project: the next step fusion energy experiment, ITER. The advocacy and outreach efforts of the ITER Forum have contributed to securing a Cooperation Agreement between ITER and ANSTO. This agreement, which was signed on 30 September 2016 by ANSTO on behalf of Australian fusion science is a coup for Australian science, and enables Australians to participate in ITER.
In 2010 Professor Hole was named International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Young Scientist of the year for “research in related wave phenomena in plasmas, and research leadership to engage Australia with ITER”. In 2017 he was appointed as the first ITER Science Fellow appointed outside of the ITER member consortium.