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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.

Steven Cowley, PPPL director, explains “the Magnetic Universe” at Science on Saturday

Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has spent a lifetime working to develop fusion energy as a viable source of electricity. But in his spare time, he enjoys investigating the role of magnetism in the universe.   

“I’m a fusion nut and I spent most of my career talking about how to make fusion work,” Cowley told the audience at PPPL’s second Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday lecture on “The Magnetic Universe” at PPPL on Jan. 19. “I’ve also done some work understanding magnetic field lines in the universe. It’s kind of a hobby.” 

Turn, turn, turn: New findings bring physicists closer to understanding the formation of planets and stars

Down a hallway in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), scientists study the workings of a machine in a room stuffed with wires and metal components. The researchers seek to explain the behavior of vast clouds of dust and other material that encircle stars and black holes and collapse to form planets and other celestial bodies. 

Turn, turn, turn: New findings bring physicists closer to understanding the formation of planets and stars

Down a hallway in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), scientists study the workings of a machine in a room stuffed with wires and metal components. The researchers seek to explain the behavior of vast clouds of dust and other material that encircle stars and black holes and collapse to form planets and other celestial bodies.

Ten PPPL stories you may have missed from 2018 — plus a special bonus

From new insights into the control of nuclear fusion to improved understanding of the fabrication of material thousands of time thinner than a human hair, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) achieved wide-ranging advances in 2018. Research at the Laboratory focuses on the physics of plasma, the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei that fuels the fusion reactions that light the sun and stars and underlies fundamental processes throughout the cosmos.

New findings reveal the behavior of turbulence in the exceptionally hot solar corona

The sun defies conventional scientific understanding. Its upper atmosphere, known as the corona, is many millions of degrees hotter than its surface. Astrophysicists are keen to learn why the corona is so hot, and scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have completed research that may advance the search.

New findings reveal the behavior of turbulence in the exceptionally hot solar corona

The sun defies conventional scientific understanding. Its upper atmosphere, known as the corona, is many millions of degrees hotter than its surface. Astrophysicists are keen to learn why the corona is so hot, and scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have completed research that may advance the search.

Experiments at PPPL show remarkable agreement with satellite sightings

As on Earth, so in space. A four-satellite mission that is studying magnetic reconnection — the breaking apart and explosive reconnection of the magnetic field lines in plasma that occurs throughout the universe — has found key aspects of the process in space to be strikingly similar to those found in experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The similarities show how the studies complement each other: The laboratory captures important global features of reconnection and the spacecraft documents local key properties as they occur.

From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering

More than 135 researchers and students from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) presented their latest findings at the 60th annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics — a worldwide gathering focused on fundamental plasma science research and discoveries. Some 1,700 participants from more than two dozen countries joined the November 5-to-9 event in Portland, Oregon, presenting posters and talks on topics ranging from astrophysical plasmas to nanotechnology to magnetic confinement fusion experiments.

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