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Plasma astrophysics

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A field of physics that is growing in interest worldwide that tackles such astrophysical phenomena as the source of violent space weather and the formation of stars.

Discovering a previously unknown mechanism that halts solar eruptions before they blast into space

Among the most feared events in space physics are solar eruptions, massive explosions that hurl millions of tons of plasma gas and radiation into space. These outbursts can be deadly: if the first moon-landing mission had encountered one, the intense radiation could have been fatal to the astronauts. And when eruptions reach the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, the contact can create geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and knock out power grids.

Discovering a previously unknown mechanism that halts solar eruptions before they blast into space

Among the most feared events in space physics are solar eruptions, massive explosions that hurl millions of tons of plasma gas and radiation into space. These outbursts can be deadly: if the first moon-landing mission had encountered one, the intense radiation could have been fatal to the astronauts. And when eruptions reach the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, the contact can create geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and knock out power grids.

Bernard named communications director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Larry Bernard, a proven developer of strategic communications programs, has been named director of communications for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), effective December 14. PPPL is the nation’s leading center for the exploration of plasma science and magnetic fusion energy.

Bernard named communications director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Larry Bernard, a proven developer of strategic communications programs, has been named director of communications for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), effective December 14. PPPL is the nation’s leading center for the exploration of plasma science and magnetic fusion energy.

COLLOQUIUM: Assessing First Wall Materials at the Atomic Scale and Energy Writ Large at Princeton

Quantum mechanics based computer simulations can help provide insights into the survivability of first wall and divertor materials. I will present results of research aimed at assessing how hydrogen isotopes interact with solid tungsten and liquid lithium, candidates for plasma facing components of fusion reactors. An overview of Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment will also be provided.

PPPL scientists unveil their latest results at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics

More than 1,750 researchers from around the world, including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have gathered in Savannah, Georgia, this week for the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics. Researchers at the five-day conference, which ends Nov. 20, will attend nine half-day sessions featuring nearly 1,000 talks on subjects ranging from space and astrophysical plasmas to the challenges of producing magnetic fusion energy.

PPPL scientists unveil their latest results at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics

More than 1,750 researchers from around the world, including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have gathered in Savannah, Georgia, this week for the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics. Researchers at the five-day conference, which ends Nov. 20, will attend nine half-day sessions featuring nearly 1,000 talks on subjects ranging from space and astrophysical plasmas to the challenges of producing magnetic fusion energy.

PPPL physicists find clue to formation of magnetic fields around stars and galaxies

An enduring astronomical mystery is how stars and galaxies acquire their magnetic fields. Physicists Jonathan Squire and Amitava Bhattacharjee at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found a clue to the answer in the collective behavior of small magnetic disturbances. In a paper published in October in Physical Review Letters, the scientists report that small magnetic perturbations can combine to form large-scale magnetic fields just like those found throughout the universe. This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science.

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