A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research
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Dr. Michael C Zarnstorff

Deputy Director for Research

Michael Zarnstorff has been deputy director of research at PPPL since 2009 and a physicist at PPPL since 1984.  As deputy director, he oversees physics experiments at PPPL and collaborations on fusion experiments around the world.  Zarnstorff graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Ph.D. in physics in 1984. While he was still in graduate school, Zarnstorff and physicist Stewart Prager, a former PPPL director who was then his thesis advisor, discovered a phenomenon called the “bootstrap current” that helps to control the plasma in fusion experiments.  The two physicists received the American Physical Society’s 2008 Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research for their discovery. As deputy director of research, Zarnstorff has overseen investigations on the National Spherical Torus Experiment, the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX) , PPPL’s low temperature plasma laboratory, and the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment along with numerous theoretical and computational projects.. Zarnstorff has also worked to promote collaborations with international fusion experiments, including ITER, the Wendelstein 7-X experiment in Germany, and several experiments in Asia. 

Interests

  • Fusion energy
  • Fusion reactor design
  • International collaborations
  • Plasma physics
  • Stellarators
  • Tokamaks

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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