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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.

Stewart Prager

Stewart Prager is the sixth director of PPPL. He joined the Laboratory in 2009 after a long career at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. At Wisconsin, he led research on the “Madison Symmetric Torus” (MST) experiment and headed a center that studied plasmas in both the laboratory and the cosmos. He also co-discovered the “bootstrap current” there—a key finding that has influenced the design of today’s tokamaks. He earned his PhD in plasma physics from Columbia University.

Hantao Ji

For more than 20 years, Hantao Ji has been interested in the converging fields of plasma physics and astrophysics, and has dedicated his career to bringing them closer together.

"On the Formation of Massive Galaxies"

Looking backwards, using fossil evidence from nearby galaxies provides a plausible picture of how galaxies have formed over cosmic time. Also, going forwards, the present quite definite cosmological model, shows how perturbations grew from low amplitude fluctuations via standard physical processes to the present world. Finally, we can employ large telescopes as a time-machines – directly observing the past history of our light-cone. While none of these approaches gives results accurate to more than 5-10%, a plausible picture emerges. Massive galaxies form in two phases.

PPPL: Great story, Bright Future

Perspective on: The future of fusion
 
Name: Stewart Prager
 
Title: Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
 
Administrative focus:Prager, a well-known plasma physicist and fusion scientist with a distinguished career and a record of discovery at the University of Wisconsin, arrived in January 2009 as director of PPPL, the United States’ leading magnetic fusion facility.

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U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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