Company/Organization: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Mentor(s):Dr. Andrew Zwicker
Topic of Internship
Engineering and Plasma Physics
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a Department of Energy Laboratory whose primary mission is to produce nuclear fusion as a practical energy source. Research of fusion as a source of energy was founded by Lyman Spitzer Jr. in 1951 under the governmental code name Project Matterhorn. After being declassified in 1958 the lab achieved many phenomenal achievements and discoveries in this field, transforming the lab into a world leader in Plasma Physics. The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) has achieved confinement temperatures of 918 million degrees Fahrenheit. It has also produced 10.7 million watts of controlled fusion power, a record high for fusion reactors. Discoveries such as the bootstrap current have led to massive improvements in the designs and operation of fusion reactors. Currently the lab is running a number of experiments to reach this goal, as well a variety of astrophysical experiments relating to the plasma state of matter in its natural state.
Summary of Internship
At the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory I began the first half of my internship improving my analytical, problem solving and professional socializing skills. This was incorporated in redesigning, improving and retrieving information for the Science Education department's website. In the second half of my internship I did two things. I began the second half with a plasma introductory experiment. This involved learning what plasma is and some of its inherent properties. This laboratory experiment improved on my research and scientific inquiry skills. Once finished I began to study, design and improve a power supply for the DC glow discharge which created the plasma in my introductory experiment. This involved learning some mechanical and electrically engineering as well as electrical and plasma physics thus providing me with a broad but in depth experience in several fields. Over the course of my internship I was also able to take advantage of the library and travel time to conduct other extracurricular activities.
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