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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.

PPPL team wins 80 million processor hours on nation's fastest supercomputer

The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a total of 80 million processor hours on the fastest supercomputer in the nation to an astrophysical project based at the DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The grants will enable researchers led by Amitava Bhattacharjee, head of the Theory Department at PPPL, and physicist Will Fox to study the dynamics of magnetic fields in the high-energy density plasmas that lasers create. Such plasmas can closely approximate those that occur in some astrophysical objects.

Discovering a previously unknown mechanism that halts solar eruptions before they blast into space

Among the most feared events in space physics are solar eruptions, massive explosions that hurl millions of tons of plasma gas and radiation into space. These outbursts can be deadly: if the first moon-landing mission had encountered one, the intense radiation could have been fatal to the astronauts. And when eruptions reach the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, the contact can create geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and knock out power grids.

Bernard named communications director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Larry Bernard, a proven developer of strategic communications programs, has been named director of communications for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), effective December 14. PPPL is the nation’s leading center for the exploration of plasma science and magnetic fusion energy.

COLLOQUIUM: Assessing First Wall Materials at the Atomic Scale and Energy Writ Large at Princeton

Quantum mechanics based computer simulations can help provide insights into the survivability of first wall and divertor materials. I will present results of research aimed at assessing how hydrogen isotopes interact with solid tungsten and liquid lithium, candidates for plasma facing components of fusion reactors. An overview of Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment will also be provided.

PPPL scientists unveil their latest results at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics

More than 1,750 researchers from around the world, including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have gathered in Savannah, Georgia, this week for the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics. Researchers at the five-day conference, which ends Nov. 20, will attend nine half-day sessions featuring nearly 1,000 talks on subjects ranging from space and astrophysical plasmas to the challenges of producing magnetic fusion energy.

PPPL physicists find clue to formation of magnetic fields around stars and galaxies

An enduring astronomical mystery is how stars and galaxies acquire their magnetic fields. Physicists Jonathan Squire and Amitava Bhattacharjee at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found a clue to the answer in the collective behavior of small magnetic disturbances. In a paper published in October in Physical Review Letters, the scientists report that small magnetic perturbations can combine to form large-scale magnetic fields just like those found throughout the universe. This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science.

COLLOQUIUM: New Horizons at Pluto

Pluto and its five known moons have been transformed from mysterious, barely resolved or unresolved points of light, only dimly viewed from very far away, to astonishing worlds of unimagined complexity by the recent visit of the small interplanetary probe called New Horizons. Pluto, with its icy plains, mountains, flowing glaciers, and hazy atmosphere, and Charon, only half as large but dramatically different, are revealed in amazing detail by the instruments on New Horizons.


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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