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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.

Advisory Committee Releases Long-Range Plan for U.S. Fusion Energy Sciences Program

A subcommittee convened by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) to develop a long-range plan for FES has released its final report that lays out a strategic plan for fusion energy and plasma science research over the next decade. The report has been two years in the making, gathering an unprecedented level of input and support from across the diverse U.S. fusion energy and plasma sciences community. Its strategic plan charts a path for the U.S. as it seeks to develop fusion as a limitless and practical source of energy.

New findings could improve understanding of potentially damaging solar storms

When fast-moving particles from the sun strike the Earth’s magnetic field, they set off reactions that could disrupt communications satellites and power grids. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have learned new details of this process that could lead to better forecasting of this so-called space weather.

Arecibo Observatory and PPPL – A Noble, and Nobel, History

The legendary radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed on Dec. 1, sending shock waves throughout the astronomy and astrophysics communities. The telescope, the world’s most powerful radar that was used by scientists for almost six decades to send beams to and receive signals from outer space to elucidate the ways of the universe, also is cemented in the history of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

PPPL presents discoveries and plays a prominent role at global physics gathering

Scientific discoveries, educational opportunities and wide-ranging events highlighted the 62nd American Physical Society-Division of Plasma Physics annual meeting, which attracted participants from around the world. The session this year, held virtually November 9 to  13, drew more than 150 physicists, engineers and students from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

Researchers find unexpected electrical current that could stabilize fusion reactions

Electric current is everywhere, from powering homes to controlling the plasma that fuels fusion reactions to possibly giving rise to vast cosmic magnetic fields. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that electrical currents can form in ways not known before.

Will Fox wins 2020 John Dawson Award for producing new insights into astrophysical shockwaves

Exploration of the processes behind supernova shockwaves has won Will Fox, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), the John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. The honor, awarded by the American Physical Society (APS), recognizes “a recent outstanding achievement in plasma physics research.” Fox shares this year’s award with 10 physicists in the U.S., Japan, and Britain.

Exciting progress

Quest, PPPL’s annual research magazine, reports breakthroughs and discoveries during the past year

From fresh insight into the capture and control on Earth of fusion energy that drives the sun and stars, to the launch of pioneering new initiatives, groundbreaking research and discoveries have marked the past year at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The Laboratory has advanced on all fronts and is expanding into new ones, and Quest reports on all the excitement around these activities in the 2020 edition.

Highly productive

Matthew Kunz, Princeton and PPPL astrophysicist, receives prestigious NSF dual-purpose award

Matthew Kunz, an assistant professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University and a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) five-year grant to research magnetic fields throughout the early universe and to establish a summer school on plasma physics aimed at attracting women and underrepresented minorities to the field.

New research deepens understanding of Earth’s interaction with the solar wind

As the Earth orbits the sun, it plows through a stream of fast-moving particles that can interfere with satellites and global positioning systems. Now, a team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University has reproduced a process that occurs in space to deepen understanding of what happens when the Earth encounters this solar wind.

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