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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.

COLLOQUIUM: Seeing the Big Bang More Clearly: The Evolution of Observational Techniques in CMB Studies

Since 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), I will begin by analyzing the very early experiments that established the properties of the CMB.  What experimental problems did we face, and how did we overcome them?  As CMB measurements grew more sensitive, new sources of systematic error and new foregrounds emerged.  I'll describe the techniques CMB observers have evolved over the years to cope with them.


COLLOQUIUM: Toward a Better Understanding of the Solar Atmosphere: Combining Observations and Numerical Modeling

The study of the Sun, our nearest star, is making rapid progress, through a combination of a host of new space-based and ground-based observatories coming online and major advances in numerical simulations that incorporate increasingly complex physical mechanisms. I will provide an overview of some recent exciting discoveries that highlight the synergy between numerical modeling and observations with the  Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Hinode spacecraft. Some of the topics I will discuss include: 1.

COLLOQUIUM: Reconnection at the Dayside Magnetopause from MMS

The NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission was developed and launched on March 12, 2015 to conduct a definitive experiment on magnetic reconnection in the boundary regions of the Earth’s magnetosphere. The focus is on understanding phenomena in the reconnection diffusion region that cause solar-wind and magnetospheric magnetic fields to merge, thereby releasing magnetic energy and accelerating charged particles.

Researchers correlate incidences of rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis with solar cycles

What began as a chat between husband and wife has evolved into an intriguing scientific discovery. The results, published in May in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Open, show a “highly significant” correlation between periodic solar storms and incidences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and giant cell arteritis (GCA), two potentially debilitating autoimmune diseases.


At Escape Dynamics we are working on the next generation propulsion technologies with the goal of developing electromagnetically-powered engines operating at 10x the efficiency of chemical rockets. In this talk I will describe results of Escape Dynamics’ R&D efforts and outline our vision for the future of aerospace transportation. The primary focus of the talk will be on the technical aspects of external propulsion in which all or a part of the energy required for launch is coming from a ground-based array of microwave antennas configured to beam microwave energy to the vehicle.


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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