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Plasma astrophysics

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A field of physics that is growing in interest worldwide that tackles such astrophysical phenomena as the source of violent space weather and the formation of stars.

Stewart Prager

Stewart Prager was the sixth director of PPPL. He joined the Laboratory in 2009 after a long career at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. At Wisconsin, he led research on the “Madison Symmetric Torus” (MST) experiment and headed a center that studied plasmas in both the laboratory and the cosmos. He also co-discovered the “bootstrap current” there—a key finding that has influenced the design of today’s tokamaks. He earned his PhD in plasma physics from Columbia University.

A landmark plan for realizing fusion energy and advancing plasma science

Creating and controlling on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars is a key goal of scientists around the world. Production of this safe, clean and limitless energy could generate electricity for all humanity, and the possibility is growing closer to reality. Now a landmark report released this week by the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Community Planning Process proposes immediate steps for the United States to take to accelerate U.S.

A landmark plan for realizing fusion energy and advancing plasma science

Creating and controlling on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars is a key goal of scientists around the world. Production of this safe, clean and limitless energy could generate electricity for all humanity, and the possibility is growing closer to reality. Now a landmark report released this week by the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Community Planning Process proposes immediate steps for the United States to take to accelerate U.S.

Particle beam could help map Earth’s magnetic field to understand how space weather impacts the planet

Magnetic field lines that wrap around the Earth protect our planet from cosmic rays. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have now found that beams of fast-moving particles launched toward Earth from a satellite could help map the precise shape of the field.

Particle beam could help map Earth’s magnetic field to understand how space weather impacts the planet

Magnetic field lines that wrap around the Earth protect our planet from cosmic rays. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have now found that beams of fast-moving particles launched toward Earth from a satellite could help map the precise shape of the field.

Investigating the trigger for a sudden explosive process that occurs throughout the universe

A long-standing puzzle in space science is what triggers fast magnetic reconnection, an explosive process that unfolds throughout the universe more rapidly than theory says it should. Solving the puzzle could enable scientists to better understand and anticipate the process, which ignites solar flares and magnetic space storms that can disrupt cell phone service and black out power grids on Earth.

Investigating the trigger for a sudden explosive process that occurs throughout the universe

A long-standing puzzle in space science is what triggers fast magnetic reconnection, an explosive process that unfolds throughout the universe more rapidly than theory says it should. Solving the puzzle could enable scientists to better understand and anticipate the process, which ignites solar flares and magnetic space storms that can disrupt cell phone service and black out power grids on Earth.

Ten not-to-be-missed PPPL stories from 2019 — plus a triple bonus!

Arms control robots, a new national facility, and accelerating the drive to bring the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars to Earth. These far-reaching achievements at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) made 2019 another remarkable year. Research at the only national laboratory devoted to fusion and plasma physics — the state of matter that makes up 99 percent of the visible universe — broke new ground in varied fields as vast as astrophysics and as tiny as nanotechnology.

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