Press Releases Archive
At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), world-leading fusion research resumes later this fall. After more than six years of planning and construction — including three years of building and 574,000 hours of labor — the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) is ready to play a critical role in the quest to develop fusion energy as a clean, safe and virtually limitless fuel for generating electricity.
Just as autumn heralds the arrival of students at Princeton University, it also means the beginning of a new season of science colloquia at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The talks by invited speakers on various science and engineering subjects take place throughout the school year; the 2015-2016 inaugural lecture will be given on Sept. 21 by Princeton University physics professor Suzanne Staggs, who will present "Probing the History and Dynamics of the Universe with Polarized Signatures in the Cosmic Microwave Background."
If you happened to be in the lobby of PPPL's Lyman Spitzer Building on Aug. 12, you would have seen the next generation of top scientists preparing to launch their careers. Twenty-five undergraduates from colleges across the country spent this summer at the Laboratory as interns, working on projects ranging from figuring out how to remotely steer a set of mirrors that will be built into the upcoming ITER fusion machine to studying how nanoparticles grow inside plasmas.
Masaaki Yamada, a Distinguished Laboratory Research Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won the 2015 James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics. The award from the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Plasma Physics recognized Yamada for "fundamental experimental studies of magnetic reconnection relevant to space, astrophysical and fusion plasmas, and for pioneering contributions to the field of laboratory plasma astrophysics."
Creating controlled fusion energy entails many challenges, but one of the most basic is heating plasma – hot gas composed of electrons and charged atoms – to extremely high temperatures and then maintaining those temperatures. Now scientist Elena Belova of the U.S.
As a young man, A.J. Stewart “Stew” Smith won the Canadian National Lacrosse Championship as a member of a powerful Vancouver, British Columbia, club team. That early success and love of teamwork foreshadowed an illustrious career in which Smith has played leading roles as an educator, administrator and particle physicist. Now, after nearly 50 years on the faculty and staff of Princeton University, Smith is stepping down next February from his current post as the University’s initial vice president for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).
Chuck Kessel, a principal engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won the 2015 Fusion Technology Award. The honor, from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, recognizes outstanding contributions to fusion engineering and technology.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a detailed model of the source of a puzzling limitation on fusion reactions. The findings, published in June in Physics of Plasmas, complete and confirm previous PPPL research and could lead to steps to overcome the barrier if the model proves consistent with experimental data. “We used to have correlation,” said physicist David Gates, first author of the paper. “Now we believe we have causation.” This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.
Rotation is key to the performance of salad spinners, toy tops, and centrifuges, but recent research suggests a way to harness rotation for the future of mankind's energy supply. In papers published in Physics of Plasmas in May and Physical Review Letters this month, Timothy Stoltzfus-Dueck, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), demonstrated a novel method that scientists can use to manipulate the intrinsic – or self-generated – rotation of hot, charged plasma gas within fusion facilities called tokamaks.
What began as a chat between husband and wife has evolved into an intriguing scientific discovery. The results, published in May in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Open, show a “highly significant” correlation between periodic solar storms and incidences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and giant cell arteritis (GCA), two potentially debilitating autoimmune diseases.
If you’ve always wanted to learn about the science behind plasma physics and fusion energy, you can listen to the very same lectures being offered to college students at PPPL in a weeklong introductory course this week without having to leave your home or office.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have for the first time simulated the formation of structures called "plasmoids" during Coaxial Helicity Injection (CHI), a process that could simplify the design of fusion facilities known as tokamaks. The findings, reported in the journal Physical Review Letters, involve the formation of plasmoids in the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.
Three Princeton University-related computer programs have been chosen to run on a new supercomputer that will deliver enhanced scientific findings when it begins crunching numbers in 2018. The projects, consisting of a Princeton Department of Geosciences program and two studies involving the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), encompass high-performance computer codes to map the interior of the Earth and advance the scientific basis for developing fusion energy to generate electricity.
Scientists from General Atomics and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that may quicken the development of fusion energy. Together with a team of researchers from across the United States, the scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.
If a picture is worth a thousands words, a computer graphic is worth millions. With that thought in mind, PPPL has named Computational Scientist Eliot Feibush to lead a new University consortium that will share efforts to turn mountains of scientific data into eye-friendly computer visualizations.
At 10:44 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, NASA launched the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS), a set of four spacecraft that will study the magnetic fields surrounding Earth. Sent into space aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, the craft mark the first NASA mission dedicated to investigating magnetic reconnection, a mysterious phenomenon that gives rise to the northern lights, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service, black out power grids and damage orbiting satellites.
The European Physical Society (EPS) has named physicist Nat Fisch winner of the 2015 Hannes Alfvén Prize. Fisch, director of the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics and professor and associate chair of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, will receive the honor in June at the at the annual meeting of the EPS Division of Plasma Physics in Lisbon, Portugal.
Researchers from General Atomics and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have made a major breakthrough in understanding how potentially damaging heat bursts inside a fusion reactor can be controlled. Scientists performed the experiments on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, a tokamak operated by General Atomics in San Diego. The findings represent a key step in predicting how to control heat bursts in future fusion facilities including ITER, an international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy.
In a rare transition, engineer Russ Feder has stepped into a management job that a distinguished physicist last held. Feder leads PPPL’s development of all diagnostic tools for US ITER, which manages U.S. contributions to the international ITER experiment, succeeding physicist Dave Johnson in that role. “I’m excited to keep the momentum going and proud to be part of our strong team,” Feder said. “I also recognize the tough challenges of the job and will need the help of our team and the U.S. diagnostics community to be successful.”
Two local teams turned their knowledge of science and math into a ticket to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl® after winning the N.J. Regional Science Bowl® at PPPL on Feb. 20 and 21.
The West Windsor-Plainsboro South (WWPS) High School team won first place in the High School Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 21 in 12 rounds of fierce competition. The contest brought 32 teams from throughout New Jersey together to compete to answer challenging questions in general science, earth science, physical science, math, and technology.
The 3-D printing scene, a growing favorite of do-it-yourselfers, has spread to the study of plasma physics. With a series of experiments, researchers at PPPL have found that 3-D printers can be an important tool in laboratory environments.
Like a new passenger jet or power plant, the National Spherical Torus Upgrade (NSTX-U) must be certified safe to operate. At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), the task of evaluating the safety of the $94 million upgrade belongs to the Activity Certification Committee (ACC), whose work remains ongoing. “This is a critical group,” said Adam Cohen, deputy director for operations at the Laboratory. “When you have a complex activity like the upgrade you need a standing committee to guarantee that it will run safely.”
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