Company/Organization: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Topic of Internship
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is dedicated to studying the fourth state of matter, plasma. Although not many people think about plasma as being a necessarily important in their everyday lives, but it actually makes up 95% of the matter in the universe. The PPPL has several experiments set up designed to study the behavior of plasmas under different conditions. From the formation of a newborn star, or the violent collapse of an ancient one, plasma physics is useful for modeling and understanding their behavior. The ultimate goal of the PPPL, as envisioned by its founder, Dr. Lyman Spitzer, is to create a fusion power source to generate immense amounts of energy.
Summary of Internship
The main requirement of a science education intern is an extreme aptitude for learning.
Plasma physics is a relatively new field of research, so the experiments that we
conduct are at the pioneering edge of out current knowledge. I work mainly in the
dusty lab where we model the behavior of microscopic silica dust in a low temperature
environment. Under the direction of the Science Education team, I formulate equations and
hypotheses about different factors which affect the dust cloud that we create. In addition
to the theoretical assessment, I also help to design and construct the apparatuses
needed to interact with and measure the plasma. We develop ideas of hypotheses
and phenomena we want to test, and then then design the experiment needed to test
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