Physical Sciences

  • Going quantum to unlock plants' secrets

    Tuesday, Jan 15, 2019
    by Kevin McElwee for the Office of the Dean for Research

    When it comes to green living, nobody does it better than plants. When plants convert light into fuel through photosynthesis, not a single particle of light is wasted. If we could unlock plants’ secrets, we might be able to perfect the design of light harvesting in solar cells.

  • Scientists inch closer to fusion energy with discovery of a process that stabilizes plasmas

    Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019
    by John Greenwald, Science Editor, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

    Scientists seeking to bring the fusion reaction that powers the sun and stars to Earth must keep the superhot plasma free from disruptions. Now researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered a process that can help to control the disruptions thought to be most dangerous.

  • Engine of cosmic evolution: Eve Ostriker looks under the hood

    Thursday, Jan 3, 2019
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    Outside Eve Ostriker’s office door stretches the universe, dotted with orange galaxies against the black backdrop of space.

    The mural lines the hallway in Princeton’s astrophysical sciences building, where it inspires Ostriker to explore what lies beyond our own galaxy, the Milky Way. How did those far-flung galaxies grow and evolve?

  • New findings reveal the behavior of turbulence in the exceptionally hot solar corona

    Friday, Dec 21, 2018
    by Raphael Rosen, Communications and Public Outreach, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

    The sun defies conventional scientific understanding. Its upper atmosphere, known as the corona, is many millions of degrees hotter than its surface. Astrophysicists are keen to learn why the corona is so hot, and scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have completed research that may advance the search.

  • Beyond Einstein: Physicists find surprising connections in the cosmos

    Monday, Dec 17, 2018
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    Albert Einstein’s desk can still be found on the second floor of Princeton’s physics department. Positioned in front of a floor-to-ceiling blackboard covered with equations, the desk seems to embody the spirit of the frizzy-haired genius as he asks the department’s current occupants, “So, have you solved it yet?”

  • Studying how unconventional metals behave, with an eye toward high-temperature superconductors

    Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    Using laser light to trap atoms in a checkerboard-like pattern, a team led by Princeton scientists studied how resistance — the loss of electrical current as heat — can develop in unconventional metals.

    The results may help explain how certain types of superconductors made from copper oxides are able to conduct electricity so efficiently. The research was published online Dec. 6 in the journal Science.

  • Turbulence in space might solve outstanding astrophysical mystery

    Monday, Nov 5, 2018
    by Raphael Rosen, Communications and Public Outreach, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab

    Contrary to what many people believe, outer space is not empty. In addition to an electrically charged soup of ions and electrons known as plasma, space is permeated by magnetic fields with a wide range of strengths. Astrophysicists have long wondered how those fields are produced, sustained, and magnified. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have shown that plasma turbulence might be responsible, providing a possible answer to what has been called one of the most important unsolved problems in plasma astrophysics.

  • Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip

    Wednesday, Nov 7, 2018
    by Scott Lyon, Office of Engineering Communications

    Popping the top on house paint usually draws people to look inside the can. But Princeton researchers have turned their gaze upward, to the underside of the lid, where it turns out that pattern of droplets could inspire new ways to make microscopically small structures.

  • ‘These Vibes Are Too Cosmic’ brings science to WPRB

    Thursday, Oct 25, 2018
    by Danielle Alio, Office of Communications; Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

    At the unlikely intersection of talk radio, modern music and the Princeton graduate physics program is “These Vibes Are Too Cosmic,” a radio show bringing cutting-edge science research and groovy tunes to your dial every Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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