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The study of plasma, a partially-ionized gas that is electrically conductive and able to be confined within a magnetic field, and how it releases energy.

Stewart Prager

Stewart Prager was the sixth director of PPPL. He joined the Laboratory in 2009 after a long career at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. At Wisconsin, he led research on the “Madison Symmetric Torus” (MST) experiment and headed a center that studied plasmas in both the laboratory and the cosmos. He also co-discovered the “bootstrap current” there—a key finding that has influenced the design of today’s tokamaks. He earned his PhD in plasma physics from Columbia University.

PPPL physicist Stoltzfus-Dueck will explore the performance of fusion plasma with an Early Career Research Award

Timothy Stoltzfus-Dueck, a theoretical physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won a DOE Early Career Research Award for exceptional scientists in the early stages of their careers. Stoltzfus-Dueck will use the five-year, approximately $500,000 per year award to develop and test models essential to the confinement of plasma, the hot, charged gas that must be tightly confined in doughnut-shaped devices to produce fusion reactions.

PPPL physicist Stoltzfus-Dueck will explore the performance of fusion plasma with an Early Career Research Award

Timothy Stoltzfus-Dueck, a theoretical physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won a DOE Early Career Research Award for exceptional scientists in the early stages of their careers. Stoltzfus-Dueck will use the five-year, approximately $500,000 per year award to develop and test models essential to the confinement of plasma, the hot, charged gas that must be tightly confined in doughnut-shaped devices to produce fusion reactions.

Teaching the teachers: Workshop gives physics professors at minority serving institutions the knowledge and experiments to use in their classrooms

Hillary Stephens is a physics professor at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, a two-year college in Lakewood, Washington, where students typically aren’t exposed to research experiments. Stephens came to a three-day workshop at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) hoping to find plasma physics experiments she can bring back to the classroom.

Teaching the teachers: Workshop gives physics professors at minority serving institutions the knowledge and experiments to use in their classrooms

Hillary Stephens is a physics professor at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, a two-year college in Lakewood, Washington, where students typically aren’t exposed to research experiments. Stephens came to a three-day workshop at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) hoping to find plasma physics experiments she can bring back to the classroom. 

Improving the magnetic bottle that controls fusion power on Earth

Scientists who use magnetic fields to bottle up and control on Earth the fusion reactions that power the sun and stars must correct any errors in the shape of the fields that contain the reactions. Such errors produce deviations from the symmetrical form of the fields in doughnut-like tokamak fusion facilities that can have a damaging impact on the stability and confinement of the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels the reactions.

A shock to behold: Earthbound scientists complement space missions by reproducing the dynamics behind astronomical shocks

High-energy shock waves driven by solar flares and coronal mass ejections of plasma from the sun erupt throughout the solar system, unleashing magnetic space storms that can damage satellites, disrupt cell phone service and blackout power grids on Earth. Also driving high-energy waves is the solar wind — plasma that constantly flows from the sun and buffets the Earth’s protective magnetic field.

Now experiments led by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in the Princeton Center for Heliophysics 

Small but mighty: A mini plasma-powered satellite now under construction may launch a new era in space exploration

A tiny satellite under construction at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) could open new horizons in space exploration.  Princeton University students are building the device, called a cubic satellite, or CubeSat, as a testbed for a miniaturized rocket thruster with unique capabilities being developed at PPPL.

Small but mighty: A mini plasma-powered satellite now under construction may launch a new era in space exploration

A tiny satellite under construction at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) could open new horizons in space exploration.  Princeton University students are building the device, called a cubic satellite, or CubeSat, as a testbed for a miniaturized rocket thruster with unique capabilities being developed at PPPL.

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