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Exploding Peeps and hair-raising experiments at PPPL’s Communiversity booth

Hundreds of people visited the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s (PPPL) booth at the Communiversity ArtsFest on Sunday, April 29, where visitors enjoyed the hair-raising Van de Graaff generator, children giggled over marshmallow Peeps bunnies expanding in the vacuum demonstration and physicists chatted with the crowd about PPPL’s research. 

The booth was one of dozens by University organizations, local non-profit and arts organizations, and vendors. Communiversity is sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton with help from Princeton University students and support from the town of Princeton. 

PPPL’s orange tent right next to the black metal gates at the main entrance to the University on Nassau Street was a popular stop by visitors attracted by the ITER model, the plasma demonstrations and giveaways of orange balls and backpacks.  

“It’s fascinating to know that this research is happening right next to where we live!” said Stewart Zhang, from Skillman, New Jersey, who visited the booth with his children. “Thank you so much! We learned a lot!” 

Paige Togerson, of Belle Meade, New Jersey, said her daughter enjoyed the vacuum demonstration in which volunteers made marshmallow Peeps expand and contract. “She keeps telling everyone we meet about the exploding Peep!” Togerson said. “It’s so great!” 

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, New Jersey, is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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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