Physics

The Gravitational Wave Universe

Who?

Joey Shapiro Key, Research Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Brownsville

http://www.phys.utb.edu/

transmuteWhat?

Gravitational wave astronomy will open a new window to understanding our universe by catching elusive gravitational wave signals from black holes, binary stars, and supernova.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) project to detect gravitational waves here on Earth is known as LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory.  Together with a network of detectors across the globe Advanced LIGO is likely to make gravitational wave detections starting in 2016-17.  … Read the entire snippet

Physics

Mechanics, geometry and instability (or bistability)

Who?

Zi Chen, Society in Science – Branco Weiss Fellow
Washington University in St. Louis
chen.z@seas.wustl.edu

http://taberlab.seas.wustl.edu/index.php/zi-chen

What?

The fundamental questions we are trying to address include: (1) the role of mechanics in morphogenesis (the creation of forms in nature) in plant and animal development, and (2) how this information can inspire designs for nano-fabrication techniques and bio-mimetic devices (devices with intelligent, functional responses to environmental stimuli). The more specific aims of our research include understanding how mechanics and geometry can be inter-related, e.g., in spontaneous formation of helical structures which can be related to the shape of  helical seed pods and “bistable morphing structures” (structures that can switch/morph between two different stable states).… Read the entire snippet

Physics

Edge Turbulence and “Blobs”: Could Smaller Be Better?

Who?

Matthew Ko, Research Intern
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
matthewko@verizon.net

What?

Magnetic fusion is a highly studied potential source of energy in the future. In magnetic fusion, fuel particles are formed into a highly energetic plasma and confined using magnetic fields in a tokamak (a doughnut-shaped magnetic “bottle”). The confined plasma is heated; the fuel particles fuse, and a large quantity of energy is released.

One of the most significant issues impacting current attempts to develop magnetic fusion into a viable source of energy is edge turbulence in the plasma.… Read the entire snippet

Physics

Taming plasma turbulence to advance magnetic fusion energy

Who?

David Smith, Assistant Scientist
Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
drsmith@engr.wisc.edu
http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~drsmith/

What?

Magnetic fusion energy is a promising energy development program with advantages like abundant fuel and carbon-free energy production not dependent on weather conditions.  To generate magnetic fusion energy, magnetic fields confine plasma (ionized gas) at high temperatures to initiate nuclear fusion reactions.  Plasma turbulence, one of the primary obstacles to fusion energy, can enhance the transport of heat and particles out of plasma and inhibit fusion energy production. … Read the entire snippet

Physics

Studying intense-beam physics in a compact Paul trap: the Paul Trap Simulator Experiment

Who? 

Erik Gilson, Research Physicist
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
egilson@pppl.gov
http://w3.pppl.gov/~egilson/

What?

Accelerators are used in many areas: medicine, high-energy particle physics, materials science, and fusion energy to mention a few examples.  As modern and next-generation accelerators make use of increasingly intense particle beams, the beams become more difficult to control.  Since accelerators are typically large expensive facilities that are “mission oriented,” its good to have a simple, compact, flexible facility to perform studies of the basic properties of intense beams.  … Read the entire snippet