August 2008 Archives

Hypothetical Fusion Power Plant


Drawing of a hypothetical fusion power plant.

The goal of the PPPL’s National Spherical Torus Experiment is to study the principles of spherically shaped plasmas, which could allow for the development of smaller, more economical fusion reactors. Fusion energy, the energy source of the Sun and the stars, can potentially be a safe and environmentally sustainable source of energy on earth.

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Photo from the Princeton Alumni Weekly, courtesy of Princeton University Archives.

PPPL: National Spherical Torus Experiment


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory researchers are now leading work on an advanced fusion device — the National Spherical Torus Experiment. PPPL staff are also applying knowledge gained in fusion research to other areas including materials science, solar physics, chemistry, and manufacturing.

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Photo courtesy of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Princeton Plasma Physics: Tokamak Reactor

Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor

Scale model of a Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor. The Tokamak Reactor operated at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) from 1982 to 1997.

Magnetic fusion research at Princeton began in 1951 under the direction of Professor Lyman Spitzer, Jr. For the past three decades, PPPL has been a leader in magnetic confinement experiments using the tokamak approach. The Tokamak Reactor set a number of world records, including a plasma temperature of 510 million degrees centigrade — the highest ever produced in a laboratory, and well beyond the 100 million degrees required for commercial fusion — and made substantial contributions in fusion technology development.

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Photo from the Princeton Alumni Weekly, courtesy of Princeton University Archives.

Supercomputers at Princeton Today


Today Princeton is home to “Orangena,” an IBM “Blue Gene” high-performance computer that will aid current and future research solving complex problems in areas including astrophysical sciences, engineering, chemistry and plasma physics. “Orangena” calculates problems almost 1,000 times faster than a typical desktop personal computer.

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Photo: John Jameson

Supercomputers at Princeton, 1968


Facing the computer center’s IBM 7090, one of the largest modern computers of its time, are Gloria Cantor (machine operator), Robert Houck (machine operator), Dr. Leon Lapidus, Professor of Chemical Engineering, ca. 1968-70.

Princeton has been at the forefront of computing since Alan Turing, Alonzo Church, and John von Neumann were among the faculty. Today the Department of Computer Science has faculty in such diverse research areas as computational biology; network systems; graphics, sound, and vision; machine learning; programming languages and security; and theory.

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Photo courtesy of Princeton University Archives

Princetonians and the Olympics



Alison Carlson ‘77, who rowed undergraduate women’s crew at Princeton, participated in the torch relay for the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Here, she runs triumphantly through Fitzrandolph Gate.

Thirteen Princeton students and alumni are set to compete at the 2008 games in Beijing, opening Friday August 8. They will join the ranks of 86 Princetonians who have participated in the summer and winter Olympics since 1896. According to the Ivy League Beijing Olympics blog, Princeton has more athletes competing this year than any other school in the Ivy League.

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Photo courtesy of Princeton University Archives

Computing, 2008


Caitlin B. Tully ‘10 looks through a microscope in an electrical engineering lab on fabricating microchips, part of the course ELE 222B Principles of Computing and Connectivity.

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Photo: Andrea Kane