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
About a dozen representatives from U.S. government-funded laboratories in the Northeast gathered for the meeting of national laboratory representatives dedicated to commercializing technology from the laboratories. PPPL Director Steve Cowley and Andrew Zwicker, head of Communications and Public Outreach, spoke at the meeting. Speakers also included Tony Williams, new ventures associate at Princeton University’s Office of Technology Licensing; Charles Russomanno, senior technology advisor for the Office of the Under Secretary of Science and Energy in the DOE; and Lisa Wang, of the U.S. Army Armament, Research, Development and Engineering Center. The meeting concluded with a marketing workshop on Sept. 14.
Cohen, along with Michael Paluszek, president, and Stephanie Thomas, vice president of Princeton Satellite Systems (PSS), accepted the award for industry non-federal government university research for the Princeton Field Reversed Configuration (PFRC) fusion reactor for space rocket propulsion. Laurie Bagley, head of Technology Transfer, helped organize the meeting.
“Princeton Satellite Systems is a great partner for technology transfer. They are out there looking for funding that benefits the Lab and the PFRC technology,” Bagley said. “It’s clean green fusion energy that may someday enable deep space travel.”
“A great story for technology transfer”
Valerie Larkin, technology transfer manager at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Providence, Rhode Island, and chair of the FLC Northeast Region, said the partnership between PPPL and Princeton Satellite Systems is “a great story for technology transfer.”
“We’ve been working hard to get this off the ground, promote the technology, and win additional research work,” Thomas said. “It’s nice to see some of that work coming to fruition now. I think this award goes hand in hand with that.”
Developing the cutting edge of technology
Cowley told the group that he is very interested in the idea of developing useful technology in the laboratory. PPPL can contribute by advancing technology, he said. “The huge strength of national labs is to be able to develop the cutting edge of technology and science and to do that for the national good,” he said. The laboratories also help educate the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians, he added.
Cowley said he is particularly interested in seeing the Route 1 corridor, which includes various laboratories, as well as Rutgers and Princeton universities, become a technological hub like those around Boston or Silicon Valley. “What can we do to make that happen?” he asked.
Zwicker, whose office includes Science Education, told the group that PPPL has a strong track record in steering young people to careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and particularly into studying plasma science.
Zwicker said technology has the potential to improve New Jersey’s economy. “One of the best returns in investment is to invest in research and development,” he said. “The potential in New Jersey is really tremendous.”
PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., 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.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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