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Figure-eight shaped tubes that confine hot plasma with external magnetic fields, developed by Lyman Spitzer in 1950 at the lab that became the PPPL.

PPPL’s dynamic diagnostic duo

Kenneth Hill and Manfred Bitter are scientific pioneers who have collaborated seamlessly for more than 35 years. Together they have revolutionized a key instrument in the quest to harness fusion energy — a device called an X-ray crystal spectrometer that is used around the world to reveal strikingly detailed information about the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.

Celebrating Lyman Spitzer, the father of PPPL and the Hubble Space Telescope

Princeton astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer Jr. (1914-1997) was among the 20th Century’s most visionary scientists. His major influences range from founding the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and its quest for fusion energy, to inspiring the development of the Hubble Space Telescope and its images of the far corners of the universe.

Two PPPL physicists elected to receive prestigious honor

PPPL physicists David Gates and Charles Skinner have been named as American Physical Society fellows – a prestigious honor that is given to only one half of one percent of all APS members each year.

Gates, a principal research physicist and stellarator physics lead who has been at PPPL for 16 years, and Skinner, a principal research physicist at PPPL for 31 years whose work has focused on spectroscopy and plasma-wall interactions, will be honored at the APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting in Denver Nov. 11 to 15. The two bring the total number of APS fellows at PPPL to 51.

Cool Science on a Hot Day as 3,000 Flock to PPPL’s June 1 Open House

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.

David A Gates

David Gates is a principal research physicist for the advanced projects division of PPPL, and the stellarator physics leader at the Laboratory. In the latter capacity he leads collaborative efforts with the Wendelstein 7-X and Large Helical Device stellarator projects in Germany and Japan, respectively.

Stefan Gerhardt

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.

Michael C Zarnstorff

Michael Zarnstorff is the deputy director of research for PPPL where he supervises research that ranges from testing ideas for harnessing fusion to developing rockets for space flight. His job encompasses keeping projects aligned with DOE goals and envisioning new research opportunities for PPPL. An award-winning physicist and a co-discoverer of the bootstrap current, he joined PPPL in 1984 and has been deputy director for research since 2009. He earned his PhD in plasma physics from the University of Wisconsin.

PPPL-designed coil critical to experiment arrives in stellar condition

Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have designed and delivered a crucial barn-door size component for a major device for developing fusion power. The component, called a “trim coil,” marks the initial installment of one of the largest hardware collaborations that PPPL has conducted with an international partner.

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