A Proposed Stellerator, 1952

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In 1952 Lyman Spitzer proposed this design for a “stellerator,” a device for confining and heating ionized hydrogen gas to release fusion energy for the production of power. With the support of the US Atomic Energy Commission as well as the University, he began Project Matterhorn, a program of controlled thermonuclear research effort that was the precursor of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. Born in 1914, Spitzer earned his PhD at Princeton in 1938 and joined the faculty in 1947. A giant of 20th-century astrophysics, he died in 1997.

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Photo courtesy of the Princeton University Library.