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An invitation for family fun at PPPL’s Open House on June 1

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Open House will be a fun science festival for every age, with NASA moon rocks, a Hall of Machines, an art show of paintings of PPPL, science activities for kids and tours of fusion machines. 

The event on June 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. offers numerous hands-on activities for people of every age.  Children can go on a scavenger hunt of all the exhibits and earn a special ranger energy badge if they visit all of them. They’ll also get a chance to try out plasma activities like the hair raising Van de Graaff generator and put out a simulated fire with real fire equipment.

“If you’re a plasma scientist or you’re somebody who’s never heard of plasma before, we have you covered,” said Arturo Dominguez, who is in charge of exhibits for the Open House. “Our plan is to show all the exciting and ground-breaking things happening here at PPPL.”

One of the main features of the Open House is the chance to see fusion experiments that are usually closed to the public, including the National Spherical Torus Experiment, which has been undergoing a $94-million upgrade, and numerous smaller experiments at the Laboratory.

Dominguez says the planners are particularly proud of a new exhibit at this year’s Open House. “We’re very excited about the Hall of Machines,” he said. The exhibit will highlight a huge diagram of ITER, the international fusion experiment in Cadarache, France, and visitors will see giant diagrams of other large fusion experiments scaled to ITER to give them a sense of how big the nearly 100-foot- tall ITER experiment is.

With most of the Laboratory open to the public, visitors can also see areas like the machine shops where many of the components of the experiments are produced and where there will be a demonstration of how a water jet cutter can slice through metal. Kids will enjoy seeing the ambulances and fire trucks used by PPPL’s Emergency Services Unit.

Another new exhibit unique to this year’s Open House is a special art show featuring a painting by artist Josephine Halvorson and her Princeton University students. Halvorson, who paints in a highly realistic style. The class has spent months painting on site at PPPL and many of those paintings will be on display in PPPL’s atrium. The Open House will also feature some posters from the Princeton University Art of Science contest, which is co-sponsored by PPPL.

There will also be a cryogenics demonstration showing how liquid nitrogen flash freezes everything from a balloon to flowers. There will also be lectures by top physicists and engineers that will offer a more in-depth look at the magnetic fusion research taking place at PPPL and some of the related projects.

There will be free parking available at the nearby Novo Nordisk building and shuttle buses from the parking lot to PPPL and around the PPPL site. There also will be free refreshments and giveaways.

“The Lab’s Open House will be a wonderful opportunity for the public to see the research we do and to talk to our scientists and engineers,” said John DeLooper, Head of Best Practices and Outreach, who is organizing the event. “In addition, it will be great for the kids to explore the world of plasmas and science.”

Adult visitors should have a photo ID to show to PPPL’s security booth.

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by Princeton University, is located at 100 Stellarator Road off Campus Drive on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J. PPPL researchers collaborates with researchers around the globe in the field of plasma science, the study of ultra-hot, charged gases, to develop practical solutions for the creation of magnetic fusion energy as an energy source for the world. Visit http://www.pppl.gov/openhouse.  More details on the Open House are available at the new Web page at http://www.pppl.gov/search/content/Open%20House

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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