For one week every summer, a small group of teachers gathers at PPPL to relive student days. At this year’s Plasma Camp, a professional development program for science educators, 10 high school physics teachers lived together in a college dormitory, got lost together as they navigated the circuitous laboratory building, and learned as they created new plasma-based curricula.
The study of plasma, a partially-ionized gas that is electrically conductive and able to be confined within a magnetic field, and how it releases energy.
Dutch graduate student Jasper van Rens recently completed a three-month assignment at PPPL to study a diagnostic technique that will be crucial to the success of ITER, the huge international fusion facility under construction in France. Working with Fred Levinton and Howard Yuh of PPPL subcontractor Nova Photonics, Van Rens investigated the impact of reflected light on the ITER Motional Stark Effect (MSE) instrument, which measures the internal magnetic configuration of fusion plasmas.
Leading experts from around the world gathered at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in July to focus on a key issue for the development of fusion energy: Improving ways to predict and mitigate disruptions that can destroy magnetically confined plasmas that are needed for fusion reactions.
Rich Hawryluk served as Deputy Director-General for the ITER Organization and Director of the ITER Administration Department. ITER is an international fusion experiment that is under construction in France. Hawryluk, a former deputy director of PPPL, completed a two-year assignment at ITER in April, 2013.
Author Daniel Clery recently published “A Piece of the Sun,” a 320-page narrative of the history of fusion research and the personalities who have devoted their careers to it. Clery is a United Kingdom-based reporter for Science magazine who holds a bachelor’s degree in theoretical physics from York University and has covered fusion for more than a decade. While hardly an uncritical flag-waver for fusion, he recognizes its vast potential. He discussed his new book and the future of fusion with PPPL Science Writer John Greenwald.
A. J. Stewart Smith, the Class of 1909 Professor of Physics, served as Princeton's first dean for research from 2006 to 2013. On July 1 he begins a newly created position as vice president for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).
In his tenure as dean, Smith built the Office of the Dean for Research from its inception into a fully functioning department of professionals dedicated to making the University research activities run smoothly.
PPPL is one of the 17 national laboratories sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, and one of 10 overseen by the Department's Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States.
More than 3,000 people flocked to PPPL’s Open House on June 1 where they were treated to rare glimpses of every corner of the Laboratory – from the machine shop water jets to tours of the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U).
About 175 PPPL staff members, including some family members, volunteered their time on a hot, sunny Saturday for the event, whether it was handing out snacks and water bottles, giving passersby directions or staffing the “Ask the Physicist,” and “Ask the Engineer” booth in the D Site parking lot.