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.
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.
The Lab captures global features of magnetic reconnection while spacecraft document key local properties.
Recent work illuminates laboratory research.
Contrary to what many people believe, outer space is not empty. In addition to an electrically charged soup of ions and electrons known as plasma, space is permeated by magnetic fields with a wide range of strengths. Astrophysicists have long wondered how those fields are produced, sustained, and magnified. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have shown that plasma turbulence might be responsible, providing a possible answer to what has been called one of the most important unsolved problems in plasma astrophysics.
The findings could improve understanding of a universal process that can disrupt cell phone service and power grids.
Magnetic reconnection, the snapping apart and violent reconnection of magnetic field lines in plasma — the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei — occurs throughout the universe and can whip up space storms that disrupt cell phone service and knock out power grids. Now scientists at the U.S.
“If we’re able to deliver fusion energy to the world, we’re able to change the world forever.”
From analyzing solar flares to pursuing “a star in a jar” to produce virtually limitless electric power, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed insights and discoveries over the past year that advance understanding of the universe and the prospect for safe, clean, and abundant energy for all humankind.
Steven Cowley, a theoretical physicist and international authority on fusion energy, became the seventh Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) on July 1 and will be Princeton professor of astrophysical sciences on September 1.
First plasma marks completion of construction of FLARE
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