The director of the DOE's Office of Science is profiled in International Innovation magazine and discusses how his office, as the country's single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, is the prime supporter of research in fusion energy sciences. He also describes how his office is achiveing the goal of creating greater energy security for the U.S.
Researchers at a recent worldwide conference on fusion power have confirmed the surprising accuracy of a new model for predicting the size of a key barrier to fusion that a top scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has developed. The model could serve as a starting point for overcoming the barrier.
Masa Ono is a principal research physicist and project director of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). Ono has led a number of PPPL research teams including those involved in the Advanced Concept Torus (ACT-1), the Current Drive Experiment (CDX), the Current Drive Experiment Upgrade (CDX-U) and the NSTX. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the author of more than 250 scientific papers.
Robert (Bob) Kaita is the head of plasma diagnostic operations and acting head of boundary physics operations for the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). Kaita is also a co-principal investigator of the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the Kaul Foundation Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. He has supervised the research of many students in the PPPL Program in Plasma Physics in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University.
Stefan Gerhardt leads the Advanced Scenarios and Control research group in the NSTX organization. He operates numerous diagnostics on NSTX, along with designing plasma control schemes and running physics experiments. He has previously worked on a wide variety of fusion machines, including spherical tokamaks, stellarators, and field reversed configurations.
Williams, the Engineer’s Engineer, sets standard for excellence
As an early career engineer at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Mike Williams found himself in the midst of a frantic race. He led a team charged with building crucial neutral beam heating systems for the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), the largest fusion facility in the world at the time. The deadline was impossibly tight.