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The PPPL function that reaches out to students, teachers and the general public through programs ranging from student internships to weekly talks on scientific topics from January through April.

PPPL intern Joseph Labrum helped build components for a “zero knowledge” system that may have applicability to future nuclear arms control agreements

Joseph Labrum spent his summer internship building components to upgrade an experiment that successfully compared physical objects without learning anything about the objects themselves. Such a “zero-knowledge protocol” system is a promising first step toward a technique that could possibly be used in future disarmament agreements, pending the results of further development, testing, and evaluation. While important questions remain, it might have potential application to verify that nuclear warheads are in fact true warheads without revealing classified information.

Intern helped get robotic arm on PPPL’s PTOLEMY experiment up and running

Deep in a laboratory tucked away in the basement of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), intern Mark Thom punched commands into a computer as two other students checked a chamber where a silver robotic arm extended from a small port.

The arm will allow scientists studying neutrinos that originated at the beginning of the universe to load a tiny amount of nuclear material into the device while still maintaining a vacuum in the PTOLEMY laboratory.

COLLOQUIUM: Are You Living In A Simulation?

Recently Nick Bostrom has argued that unless we are living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor simulation. While present-day simulations of the laws of nature are rather primitive, the constraint of finite computational resources implies calculable deviations of observables from naive expectations. Using present-day lattice quantum chromodynamics simulations as a guide, I will consider various physical quantities, including the distribution of the highest-energy cosmic rays, and the magnetic moment of the muon.

COLLOQUIUM: Chaotic Dynamics in the Physical Sciences

 Chaos was discovered near the end of the 19th century in the seminal work of Henri Poincare. However, widespread impact of chaotic dynamics accompanied by rapid development of understand did not occur until a relatively long after Poincare's work (of the order of 90 years). This talk will review some this history and give some examples illustrating the broad range of these more recent developments and applications.

New books by PPPL physicists Hutch Neilson and Amitava Bhattacharjee highlight magnetic fusion energy and plasma physics

Magnetic fusion energy and the plasma physics that underlies it are the topics of ambitious new books by Hutch Neilson, head of the Advanced Projects Department at PPPL, and Amitava Bhattacharjee, head of the Theory Department at the Laboratory. The books describe where research on magnetic fusion energy comes from and where it is going, and provide a basic understanding of the physics of plasma, the fourth state of matter that makes up 99 percent of the visible universe.

Students do cool summer research projects in one of the hottest spots

More than 40 college students pursuing careers in physics, engineering and computer science are spending their summer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory working with scientists and engineers on hands-on research projects.  Here they talk about the cool science they did at the Lab, which is devoted to fusion energy and plasma science research.


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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