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Plasma physics

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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.

Surprise finding: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields

Magnetic forces ripple throughout the universe, from the fields surrounding planets to the gasses filling galaxies, and can be launched by a phenomenon called the Biermann battery effect. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that this phenomenon may not only generate magnetic fields, but can sever them to trigger magnetic reconnection – a remarkable and surprising discovery.

New simulations confirm efficiency of waste-removal process in plasma device

Just as fire produces ash, the combining of light elements in fusion reactions can produce material that eventually interferes with those same reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found evidence suggesting that a process could remove the unwanted material and make the fusion processes more efficient within a type of fusion facility known as a field-reversed configuration (FRC) device.

New simulations confirm efficiency of waste-removal process in plasma device

Just as fire produces ash, the combining of light elements in fusion reactions can produce material that eventually interferes with those same reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found evidence suggesting that a process could remove the unwanted material and make the fusion processes more efficient within a type of fusion facility known as a field-reversed configuration (FRC) device.

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory designated an historic mechanical engineering site

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) on Oct. 5 presented the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) with an engraved plaque designating the Laboratory an ASME historic mechanical engineering landmark for its achievements in the quest to develop magnetically controlled fusion energy. The ASME, which “promotes the art, science and practice of multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences around the globe,” recognized  the Laboratory for its entire body of mechanical engineering achievements since 1951.

PPPL’s Sam Cohen earns award at meeting of U.S. government-funded laboratories hosted by PPPL

Physicist Sam Cohen of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and local company Princeton Satellite Systems have won a Federal Laboratory Consortium  award for their joint efforts on a rocket propulsion technology at the Sept. 13 meeting of the Northeast Regional Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) at PPPL 

No longer whistling in the dark: Scientists uncover a little-understood source of waves generated throughout the universe

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.

No longer whistling in the dark: Scientists uncover a little-understood source of waves generated throughout the universe

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.

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