Plasma Physics, Clean Energy, and Artificial Intelligence with Matt Carrier | POP 881

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Plasma Physics, Clean Energy, and Artificial Intelligence with Matt Carrier | POP 881

Are you interested in science? What are a scientist’s predictions for AI? What is happening in the science world when it comes to generating clean energy?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about plasma physics, clean energy, and artificial intelligence with Matt Carrier.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

An image of Therapy Notes is captured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Therapy Notes is the most trusted EHR for Behavioral Health.

As a therapist, I can tell you from experience that having the right EHR is an absolute lifeline. I recommend using TherapyNotes. They make billing, scheduling, notetaking, telehealth, and E-prescribe incredibly easy. Best of all, they offer live telephone support that’s available 7 days a week.

You don’t have to take my word for it – Do your own research and see for yourself – TherapyNotes is the #1 highest-rated EHR system available today, with 4.9 out of 5 stars on and on Google.

All you have to do is click the link below, or type promo code JOE on their website, and receive a special 2-month trial, absolutely free.

If you’re coming from another EHR, TherapyNotes will import your demographic data quickly and easily at no cost, so you can get started right away.

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Meet Matt Carrier

A photo of Matt Carrier is captured. He is a PhD candidate studying plasma physics at the Kevin Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. Matt is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Matt Carrier is a PhD candidate studying plasma physics at the Kevin Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech where he researches plasma instabilities in magneto-inertial fusion concepts. He’s previously held positions at Ford Motor Company and NASA Langley and has collaborated with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • Plasma physics
  • Clean energy production
  • A scientific perspective on AI
  • Matt’s advice to private practitioners

Plasma physics

Matt started his undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering because he wanted to focus more on the space side of things.

One of the things that caught his attention was plasma.

I ended up getting into the fusion community. So, plasma physics is a big [and] diverse … there’s a lot to do within it, and one of those things is nuclear fusion.

Matt Carrier

Simply put, nuclear fusion is a way of generating power by taking big atoms and breaking them apart, or slamming smaller atoms together.

Basically, nuclear fusion is what powers the sun, and so the idea is [to] basically take the science [of what] powers the sun and do that in a system here on Earth … and it’s really hard to do.

Matt Carrier

Clean energy production

Nuclear fission creates a lot of radioactive nuclear waste. However, nuclear fusion reactions are aneutronic, so they don’t create byproducts of radiation or radioactive waste like the others. 

So even though nuclear fusion is difficult to do, it is a great way to generate a form of “clean” energy that is technically sustainable.

A scientific perspective on AI

Matt explains that the mathematical foundation of AI creates a great opportunity for speeding up simulation work.

What you can do is take all this data and basically feed it into one of these … processes that basically take the data … use machine learning on it, and have it run out a simulation farther in less time.

Matt Carrier

In this way, AI can help scientists predict and understand the possibility of different futures by allowing them to predict more in less time than it would take them to do by hand.

Matt’s advice to private practitioners

You can use technology to your benefit, you just have to know what you need help with for it to be beneficial for you. Embrace technology and see how it can help you to run your business more smoothly.

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

Podcast Transcription

[BLUEPRINT] Providing great therapy day after day can be challenging even for the best of us. At Blueprint, they believe that nothing should get in the way of you doing your best work, which is why they created a platform that provides therapists with an array of clinical tools, things like therapy worksheets, intervention ideas, and digital assessments that are designed to help you and your clients stay connected and confident throughout the care journey. Even better, Blueprint helps streamline your documentation so you can spend less time on your notes and more time on the things that matter. To learn more and request a 30-day free trial, visit This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 881. I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. Happy Summer. Hopefully you are doing fun things and enjoying this kickoff. My kids are almost out of school in just a couple days here. I know a lot of you get out really early, but then you go back early with your kids. Here in Northern Michigan, it’s warming up and we are getting ready for summer. My daughter’s headed out to summer camp for overnight camp for the second year in a row, so that’s exciting. All sorts of things going on in the Sanok household right now. I was texting my cousin Matt, it was probably a month ago or so, and just chatting with him about what he was up to. We check in once in a while, not as much as probably both of us would enjoy because I always love when I have conversations with Matt and he is researching plasma instabilities in Magneto internal fusion concepts. I don’t think I even pronounced most of that correctly. Matt studies really crazy, amazing stuff and every time we hang out I just want to like, pick his brain. As we were texting, I just said to myself you know what, this has absolutely nothing to do with private practice, but also we may discover that there might be more overlap than we thought. So I have my cousin Matt Carrier on the show today. Matt is a Ph.D. candidate studying plasma physics at the Kevin Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he researches all that plasma stuff I just said. He’s previously held positions at Ford Motor Company and NASA and has collaborated with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. Matt, welcome to the Practice of the Practice Podcast. I’m so excited to have you on the show today. [MATT CARRIER] That’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me. It’s exciting. And you did a pretty good job pronouncing most of that stuff. I know it’s a little hard and tricky [JOE] Yeah, I’m definitely more of the soft science side of things. So tell us a little bit more about, let me pull it back up again, about your study, around the plasma instabilities. How’d you get into plasma instabilities and why does it even matter in the world? [MATT] Yeah, so what I got into, so I guess to take a step back, I started off doing an undergrad degree at the University of Michigan in Aerospace Engineering. My passion had been trying to do something that was space related, something that had more ties into that type of thing, so even in the aerospace community, even just focusing more on the space side of things. Some of the things that really fascinated me were propulsion systems, so basically like advanced propulsion systems, like ion thrusters, things like that. I don’t know if, I don’t even think people in the engineering community know what these things are. So if anyone listening doesn’t know that’s fine. But like ion propulsion, hall thrusters, things like that, and entry, descent and landing, and all those things together, although they’re slightly different within that aerospace community, and within that space side of things, they all have plasmas in common. So I ended up getting a degree. The job market at the time was a little rough so I ended up working for Ford Motor Company for a little while, and then while I was at Ford, I was like, well, I really want to go back into this and I want to go back to grad school. So in 2017, I went back to grad school after spending a number of years in automotive, and now I’m back doing this stuff. I actually transitioned while at grad school. I was, I went hoping to do hall thruster or something like that, and I ended up getting into the fusion community. So plasma physics is a big, like diverse kind of, well, I mean, it’s not like, I shouldn’t say diverse, but like it’s, there’s a lot to do within it and one of those things is nuclear fusion. So for people who don’t know, that is basically a way of generating power, like we have nuclear fission. So like, let’s say like, what is it down, so many, like miles down the road from me, there’s like the Fermi Two nuclear plant in southeast Michigan. Well, that’s nuclear fission, and that’s basically taking really big atoms and breaking them apart, getting energy that way, so like uranium, things like that, you break it apart, you get energy whereas smaller stuff, you slam it together and that produces energy, so like hydrogen. So basically nuclear fusion is what powers the sun. So the idea is basically take the science that powers the sun and do that in a system here on earth. It’s really hard to do. But yeah, that’s what I’m studying, all these in and things creep in. There’s a book that I would recommend, it’s an older book, it’s from like 1984, it’s called the Manmade Sun: the Quest for Fusion Power. It’s by T. A. Heppenheimer. They basically, he uses an analogy and he says that to contain plasma is like trying to control a ball of water with air jets. It’s always going to try to escape. It’s really hard. It’s really tricky. So that’s what, as I was going through school, I was like, well, this is neat, this is fun. Why don’t I get into this and why don’t I take on this challenge? And here I am, whatever year of grad school and it’s like, oh, did I, am I making the right choice here? Here I’m, but I love it. It’s great. It’s fun stuff. [JOE] No, the application of what you’re studying, I mean, are you hoping to go into a field where you’re looking at large scale energy? Are you looking at using it for space? Are you like, what for you personally do you hope to use this knowledge for if you had your dream job in five or 10 years? [MATT] Yeah, so a lot of what I do is basic science. It can be applied to any of those areas. Again, so just to give some ideas of what you can do with plasma physics, I mean, you can do, like I said, spacecraft propulsion, you can do nuclear fusion, like those are some of the, and you can also do some weapons stuff, which I don’t really like as much. But a lot of the funding in the United States around the stuff primarily comes from things that are originally weapon sources, but a lot of the basic science is used for all of that. Basically my ideal uses would be nuclear fusion, basically this power source that is better than a lot of things we have out there. It’s not quite renewable but it’s the closest you can get to being clean and renewable and stuff that producing huge amounts of power. [JOE] What about the like 1980s’ Simpsons, nuclear runoff, all that, like where are we at in science in regards to what comes out of that energy? [MATT] Well, that’s what’s really interesting. So with the stuff that I study, okay, so think about it this way, so the reactions for nuclear fission, so again, the stuff that we have power plants for already, the stuff that, like Fukushima, that meltdown in Japan a number of years ago, all that is tied back to nuclear fission, so again, fission, you’re taking stuff that’s big, breaking it apart. So that was one of the things that it was discovered in the early 1900s and it was harnessed for power, I think in the 1950s, I believe. You might want to verify and double check that. But what ends up happening, so that one was something that was fairly easy to figure out. I mean, you’re basically, you have this really big thing, you hit it with some like neutrons and like it falls apart. That’s pretty radioactive. That’s pretty bad, pretty nasty and it can easily go into this meltdown mode. So basically like if you have, I mean, so basically it’s, you’re trying to keep things at a certain reaction rate and it’s really hard to do. If you goof that up and you mess it up, you get these meltdowns and it’s not fun. You get like the Fukushima type stuff, you get Chernobyl. Chernobyl is actually a really good example of that with nuclear fusion. The stuff I study, we’ve known about nuclear fusion for a long time. So the hydrogen bomb that was produced, I think in the late 1950s, early 1960s is a fusion reaction. So the atomic bombs, those are fission, so those are like the smaller of the nukes. Those are fission, but the really big, like earth-destroying, earth-shattering things, those the really, really scary stuff, that’s the nuclear fusion. That is basically you taking stuff and merging it together. So that stuff we figured out how to do with the bomb, but it’s really hard to do from a containment point of view, so you have these really high temperatures, basically these plasmas that are millions of degrees, you can think of it like as hot as the sun and these things will just melt anything they hold. So you are really struggling to actually get this reaction to work, to really get nuclear fusion to work and if something happens, let’s say like you have some weird event at, you have this theoretical and the future nuclear power, nuclear fusion power plant, you won’t get a meltdown event. You’re just going to get it fizzling out and it’s going to fizzle out really fast. So it’s actually really safe, so in terms of like the Simpsons, like nuclear meltdown type scenarios, don’t got to worry about it as much. [JOE] So there’s not actually much nuclear waste either with it? [MATT] No, there’s not a whole lot. There is some nuclear waste but for the most part, what’s interesting is there are some reactions, some fusion reactions, and they’re referred to as neutronic. What that means is you don’t get the type of radiation that you would have from something like uranium. So if you have uranium, plutonium, anything like that, you have to, and it’s the byproducts that come out later, so the stuff, nuclear fusion, you got to do something with that. You got to, I mean, right now I think the US just throws it all in Yucca Mountain or something like this place where they’re just like, okay, we’re just going to dump all of our waste there. It’s going to be there for a couple thousand years and hey, let’s hope no one ever stumbles upon it if civilization collapses and the future humans are walking around, let’s just hope that they never find this, so like a weird scenario. With nuclear fusion, you have these reactions, and it’s not all of them, but you have some of these reactions that are, that they don’t actually create radiation like that. Or what I should say is they don’t create the byproducts, those radioactive byproducts. Sometimes they’ll come into contact with these materials that will then themselves become a little bit radioactive, but all that radiation is pretty much gone in a very short amount of time, so like, whereas nuclear fusion, or sorry, I shouldn’t say nuclear fusion, can take thousands of years to dissipate and get to a safe level. Nuclear fusion type stuff is just on the order of like 10 to a hundred years, nothing bad. [JOE] Oh, wow. Wow. Now I know — [MATT] I mean, it’s like the holy grail. [JOE] For myself, oftentimes, like when I hear things about physics or string theory or space or like the scientific types of people that are exploring those things are discovering such weird things that are either super, super small, like the example of like quirks that are across the nation and you spin one in one direction and then like one across the nation spins in that same direction, crazy stuff like that on the micro scale, but then also like going deep into space and studying those sorts of things on the macro scale. Like what sort of things are blowing your mind, whether it’s in plasma or just general physics now, like, because I feel like sometimes people that aren’t studying deep science like this, just don’t realize how, just fascinating the universe is. Are there just things that personally you’re like, this is crazy and I think it’s really awesome? [MATT] There’s so many things that I find fascinating and I think it’s hard to boil it down to just a few. I think one of the things that, I mean, I’ve always been a space nerd, so one of the things that fascinates me is just discovering how many exoplanets and stuff are out there. So basically exoplanets are these planets outside of our solar system, orbiting other stars, things like that. The more we learn about those, the more I think that’s fascinating. Some other stuff would be, like you said, quantum physics. My background is in engineering, not quantum physics, and so I have colleagues who know that stuff who deal with that and I’m just like, well, this is fascinating. It almost seems like magic to me, but I mean, I know that, I know it’s all grounded in the rigorous science and everything. The math is interesting and crazy too. There’s just all kinds of stuff. AI is really interesting right now. There’s been an explosion of AI. I think one of the things that’s really interesting is just we can see in the last year or so, there’s been all these, you have, what is it chatGPT and the different versions of that that are coming out really fast. You have Dolly, which is like the image generative, generates images and things like that. You just tell it what you want, give it a verbal prompt, and it goes, oh, okay, I’ll put this together. Some of it is just fascinating and how quickly those are getting better and better. You can just log onto a discord and use mid journey to create things that you want. It’s incredible. [JOE] Now when you think about AI, that’s something we get tons of questions about so much so that even in our membership communities, the first Wednesday of the month, our head of IT is doing discussions and trainings on AI, websites, SEO implementation to speed things up. Like what for you, like, is the lens you’re thinking of AI, like are there concerns, are there opportunities, excitement, like worry, just like how do you process through how we’re approaching AI right now? [MATT] I think it’s all of the above. So from a work perspective, I see AI as being something, and not just AI, but let’s say the foundation, the mathematical foundation for AI, some of those things. I see that as being a really good opportunity to speed up simulation work, things like that. So I do a lot of simulations. I do all kinds of like plasma physics simulations and one of the things that you could do is you could basically run a simulation up to a certain amount and basically, so these simulations take a long time to run, let’s say they can take days, weeks to run. What you then can do is take all this data and basically feed it into one of these, I mean, you can use some of these processes that are to basically take that data, have a, use machine learning on it, and then run out a simulation farther in time, in less time. So like, rather than taking the days or weeks to run something, you can then take what you’ve already run and say, all right, well let’s train this model. This model now knows the physics or whatever, and let’s run it out and see what it produces and you can do some comparisons to the actual simulations that you’ve done. In some of these, these instances, they’re really close. So you can run stuff faster later on if you’ve got this initial like dataset. It’s really fascinating. That’s for science, and that’s how I can see it coming into my job. In my personal life though, I think it’s interesting because I’m, it’s fun to play with, it’s fun to toy with. One of my hobbies on the side is doing like, I bicycle, that’s one of the things that I like to do. I’ve been getting into that a bit more, and transit. Where I live, I live in metro Detroit, and the transit here is not great. There’s a bus system, it’s not phenomenal, but what I’ve done is I’ve actually used chatGPT to write letters to my local Congress people and then I’ve edited those letters myself a little bit after I’ve written them to add in whatever I want. I basically use it as like a base template because I find it easier to edit things than to write from scratch. So I’ve used chatGPT for that. That’s interesting. So that’s something I’ve done in my personal life. Then the other thing I’m trying to do is I’m trying to learn how to take some of these generative AI, the things that create images and basically transforms street scapes with them. Again, this is a hobby of mine, just like, I’m like, all right, well, we’ve got these crazy roads around me that are dangerous to cross on foot. And I like to walk around, I like to bike and I’m trying to figure out, basically is there a way that you can take images of really good streetscape somewhere whether they’re in the United States or elsewhere, and then take these images of these bad streetscapes, so it’s stuff I got down the road and then tell this AI, hey, modify this here to make it better. That’s what I’m toying with right now. I haven’t gotten too far into it., that’s in my spare time one of the things I’m trying to play with. [THERAPY NOTES] As a therapist, I can tell you from experience that having the right EHR is an absolute lifeline. I recommend using Therapy Notes. They make billing, scheduling, note-taking, telehealth and e-prescribe incredibly easy. Best of all, they offer live telephone support that’s available seven days a week. You don’t have to take my word for it. Do your own research and see for yourself. Therapy Notes is the number one highest rated EHR system available today with a 4.9 out of 5 stars on and on Google. All you have to do is click the link below or type promo code [JOE] on their website over at and receive a special two-month trial absolutely free. Again, that’s and use promo code [JOE] on the website. If you’re coming from another EHR, Therapy Notes will also import your demographic data quick and easy at no cost so you can get started right away. Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time and try Therapy Notes. Just use promo code [JOE] at checkout. [JOE SANOK] Well, even just yesterday we were doing a Q&A with Next Level practice, our membership community and there was one individual who her specialty is helping high achieving women who are headed towards burnout. So I pulled up chatGPT while we were doing this other training and just said give me 10 blog post ideas for a therapist that it helps women that are high achieving that’re headed towards burnout. It was just like, it just ran in the background while I’m doing my other Q&A and then I just copied that over and put it in the chat and they were all awesome titles. Then I just took one of those titles and said, write a thousand word blog posts about, and then gave it the actual title it had spit out. I mean, it was 95% of the way there of what like a good therapist would write about. So I think that the idea of going back and editing it, like of course we want to sound like our own voice, especially if we’re saying this is our content. But so much of the world now is people searching for experts that they can say teach me how to avoid burnout as a high achieving woman, or whatever and then just say, well, I want to do therapy with that person. So I think the more people can just play with it and get comfortable with it’s going to be a lot easier. When you think about, whether it’s AI or the plasma science, when you think about space, because that’s been an interest of yours for a while, like yeah, if you were to future forecast what you think in the next five or 10 years you would hope would start to happen as a result of the technology that we’re creating, like what do you see happening space wise? [MATT] This is also an interesting question. I worked for NASA for a little bit and I didn’t get to actually do too much with the Artemis missions that are going on, but I think it’ll be interesting just to watch the Artemis mission. So I think either this year or the next year, I have to go back and check the calendar, there’s going to be a fly-by of the moon, basically a fly around. They already announced the crew for that, but that’s, I think the whole Artemis thing is going to be very interesting. Some other things that, I think there’s a whole lot that will be intriguing in the next few years about space and just, if anyone knows, there was a Starship launch the other day, so SpaceX Starship, it was a test launch. They weren’t expecting it to go well, it blew up Midflight, but it did alright. So I think that will be interesting. The relationship between SpaceX, NASA, Blue Origin, some of these other countries or companies, I think those are all very intriguing and interesting too. I think, yeah, I think it’ll be, I think now was an interesting time for space in terms of, you have not just the US but you have other countries, other organizations trying to get in there and do some things. China seems very committed to going to the Moon also. I think India’s planning on doing some stuff, it’s fascinating, I think that’s a pretty cool space to watch. [JOE] What’s the conversation that you’re hearing in regards to the privatization of space, privatization of launches compared to when it’s just fully funded by, say the US government or a government? Like are there debates, discussions in the space communities around that? [MATT] Yeah, okay, so it’s been a little while since I’ve actually looked too much into the subject, but couple years ago when I was working with NASA, this is one of the things that we talked about. In fact, so there’s a lot of kind of, if you will, public private partnerships going on. So SpaceX, for instance, that company exists because of a lot of contracts and money that NASA provided it. Basically SpaceX won a bunch of contracts early on and competed, well, it competed with, and some of those contracts were split up with companies like Orbital Sciences, which is now part of Northrop Grumman, that’s now called Northrop Grumman Information Systems, I believe. They might have changed the name actually, but that was the last name I saw it as. But basically you had a couple companies that were competing privately and a lot of the money was actually coming from government. So what the government figured out was, oh, we can use, we can basically utilize these systems to get to and from where we want to go, be at the International Space Station or wherever, low earth orbit. And it’s cheaper for us as NASA let’s say, to basically pay these other people to do it, to basically contract it out to them. So I think there’s a lot of opportunities there in terms of those public private partnerships, and it’s important to realize that they both, they make each other stronger. [JOE] So what, let’s go back to plasma, like what within that is your research forecasting looking at and what else are you finding interesting in that research? [MATT] Yeah, yeah, so there’s a whole lot going on in my research area. One of, so, okay, what I specifically do is plasma instability around magneto inertial fusion, so let’s untangle that a little bit. So I talked a little bit about plasma disabilities before, and I talked high level about the different, like fusion, you know about fusion a little bit. So within the fusion community, there are a bunch of different concepts for fusion, and they’ve been out there since the 1960s. But what that means is, I basically study a particular concept. So you have two main categories. You have the inertial fusion, so that’s, if you’ve been paying attention to the news last year, over this year, last year there was a big laser driven fusion event at the National Ignition facility at Lawrence Livermore, and that’s inertial fusion. So what you do is you basically take a laser or some other type of some means to basically compress this fuel basically, and get it to the temperature. You basically, you compress it so much that the atoms can’t go anywhere. They slam into each other and they fuse and that creates a chain reaction that quickly burns through, and that’s called ignition. So what they did was they finally achieved ignition, so something that’s never been done, they achieved this big milestone at the National Ignition facility. So that’s pretty cool. That’s the cito type stuff. You have magnetic confinement, which is, if you’ve ever seen those donut shaped type things that make all the pretty plasmas, that’s the magnetic confinement. So that is like stuff that’s going on at let’s say Princeton and these other places. They’re doing some really cool work with that. They’re called tomax. They’re interesting. No, I just in between, well, they’re interesting because they’re basically super-hot plasma that you’ve been finding with magnetics. Think of it this way. I’ve got a little piece of the sun. Someone gave me a little piece of the sun. How do I contain that? Like, Joe, what would you do? How would you, you have this really hot degrees, okay, so you call me, what do you think I’m going to do?. [JOE] I mean, I don’t even know what would keep the sun in one spot. I mean, I guess — I mean, a small piece of it. I mean, I don’t know, like have something that’s hotter than the sun and turn that into a mason jar. [MATT] Okay, so you want to put it in a container, you got a mason jar. [JOE] Some sort of container, sure. [MATT] Okay, but it’s hotter than, so you said a container that’s hotter than the sun. Well, how are you going to contain that? [JOE] I know, this just gets wild. [MATT] It gets wild. Yeah, it gets crazy. [JOE] So, yeah, or something that’s colder than that. I have no idea.. [MATT] Yeah, I know, that’s why it’s tricky. That’s why it’s been years that people have been working on this. So the idea for magnetic confusion or magnetic confinement fusion is that you use magnetic fields. That basically, so plasma is tricky. You can think of it this way. So water is a fluid. Water, it’s pretty hard to predict what water’s going to do, but you can, it’s going to have waves, things like that. It’s a little tough, but there’s some math that tells you how it’s going to behave if you want to get a little bit more complicated. Air is also fluid. Air is more complicated because you have, you get more shockwaves, things like that. You can compress air a little bit easier than you can compress water. Water, you can compress it. It’s just really hard to do. You need a lot of energy to put into it there. You can just compress it, no problem, but because of this, there’s a whole lot more stuff. Like you get shock waves due to the compressibility effects. You get all this other stuff, you get sound waves. So you could say it’s a little bit of a trickier fluid. There’s more math that goes into it. The equations are a little bit similar equations to the water, but a little bit more complicated. Plasma, it’s like you’re taking those equations that you would use to model air, but you’re adding a whole nother level of stuff. You’re adding in magnetic effects and, like electromagnetic effects basically. So it creates these like electric fields in response to them. So it’s really tricky. It’s really hard to predict how it’s going to behave. That’s the whole like I was saying before, the quote was containing plasma in the magnetic field. It’s like containing a ball of water with air jets. It’s always going to try to find its way out. It’s really hard to do. That’s this idea with magnetic confinement. You basically have these magnets, you try to keep everything together, you try to keep it from spilling out and you just heat it while it’s doing that. If all goes well, it will never touch the materials, the container surrounding it. It’s always just going to be confined in those magnetic fields. But it’s easier said than done. It’s been something they’ve been working on for decades now. What I do is I do something that’s a combination of them. So basically someone said like, hey, magnetic confinement is cool. Hey, inertial confinement is cool. What if we combine those ideas? What if we do inertial confinement in crazy magnetic fields? So that’s basically what I’m studying. I’m studying what if, basically the idea is you take a really high, so basically the idea is like you have this cylinder, and inside the cylinder it’s a metal cylinder. Inside it, there’s a fuel. What if you quickly blast it with a laser that heat it up? Because lasers are cool. You got to involve lasers in this stuff. Then what if you then put a really high current through it, so like current, I mean an electrical current? So think of a typical household appliance. A typical household appliance is about 1amp, something along that, those lines. So 1amp to power one of your appliances. This is a mega amp, so it’s 1 million amps of electrical current, and it goes through it in a few nanoseconds. So like, that’s about a billion of yeah, billionth of a second that it goes through, crazy timescales, crazy currents. But what it does is it basically, so you preheat the fuel, you put this current through it, that current creates a magnetic field that then collapses everything. It basically pushes in on that metal, that metal container that’s on the outside of the fuel and crushes everything down. You almost think it as like a soda can that’s being like crushed really fast, really hard. If you crush everything together, the idea is that all these items that are in that fuel have nowhere to go. They basically get slammed into each other. As they get slammed into each other, they fuse if all, if everything goes right. So there’s some issues with that though. What ends up happening is, if you have any imperfections, let’s say on the outside of this cylinder, this can, that you’re crushing down things don’t work nicely. That’s what I study. I basically study how do we get things to work nicer when in the real world you can’t have everything perfect. So that’s why I’m going to have a job for a while. [JOE] Wow, my last question before I ask my typical final question is what has this done for you personally, to study this, to go into these things, like how does it, how has it changed or transformed you? [MATT] Yeah, so it’s given me a strong appreciation for the other sciences. So I interact with a bunch of people that deal with other science, other physics, things like that. I’m just like, oh man, how do you guys do that? Then people look at me and they’re like, well, how do you do that? It’s like, oh, I guess it takes time to do anything. It takes time and learning and it’s a slow process. So when I started this, even when I started grad school, I did not have much of a background in class physics. In 2017, I didn’t know much of this at all. I knew the basics, but even then it was next to nothing. What it takes is just time and learning. So that’s what I recommend anything, you can do almost anything. It’s just going to take the time and dedication to learn those things and figure it out. And don’t be dissuaded. If you don’t get it the first time or you hit some blocks, don’t worry. You can get there. So that’s what I would say. [JOE] So awesome. The final question I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [MATT] I think I would want, so we touched a little bit on AI and the things that can be used in a good way and I think that I mean, I don’t know that, I mean this is probably something I should be thinking about a little bit more, but I think that using technology, technology can be used in a good way to approach things. The science-based approaches are always great. So whether it’s using AI to learn some things to, you can use AI to actually learn your, find things out quickly yourself or just technology in general. I think it’s just good to embrace technology and figure out what it can do for you and how it can make your practice better. [JOE] So awesome Matt [MATT] Practice myself [JOE] Well Matt, if people want to connect with you what’s the best way? [MATT] So I’m not on too much social media. I am on LinkedIn. There are plenty of Matt Carriers on LinkedIn, but I think, I think we can provide a link or something to anyone who wants to [JOE] Yeah, why don’t we just send the show notes, we’ll put a link to your profile from the show notes and then if people want to connect with you and hear more about plasma or bike riding they can reach out to you. [MATT] Yeah, if no one wants to, I won’t be offended. I totally get it.. [JOE] All good. Well, thank you so much Matt for being on the Practice of the Practice Podcast. [MATT] Thanks, Joe. It’s been great being here. It’s always good to catch up. [JOE] Time to learn. So Matt was saying how we can learn just about anything if we put in that time into the learning. So often it’s interesting I watch this cycle with people where they have maybe worked in agency work, they’ve worked at CMH or nonprofits, and then they make that jump to private practice and they’re so scared. I never took a business class. I don’t know what marketing is. I don’t know, SEO and so scary. But then once they get in there and they get some of the basic operations down, like, I have all the skills for this. Then the same cycle when they’re starting a group practice. It feels so scary to have employees or contractors and they get the knowledge, they put in the time and next thing you know they’re sharing with other people how to do that. Or even growing e-courses or passive income things outside of their practice where they’re awesome at trauma in their practice and then they’re launching a podcast about that same sort of thing where you put in the time, you learn how to do it, and the next thing you’re off and running. So you can do it. The biggest thing is figuring out where you want to put that energy, what’s the best use of your time at this phase, where you’re at. If you have any questions, if you need support we have tons of free content. Probably the best place to send you is over to We’ve put together some e-courses totally free for you where we have all sorts of trainings, checklists, downloads, that’s totally free for you over at We also couldn’t do this show without amazing sponsors like Therapy Notes. Therapy Notes is the best electronic health records out there. They will help you switch over from your current EHR. They also give you two months for free or just money off if you use promo code [JOE] at checkout. They are phenomenal. They help with automated billing. It’s going to make it easier to outsource your billing. So many reasons to switch to Therapy Notes. Just head on over to, read about it, and at checkout, just use promo code [JOE]. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day. I’ll talk to you soon. Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publishers, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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