Star Power: the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014


By Jeanne Jackson DeVoe, PPPL Communications

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has released “Star Power,” a new informational video that uses dramatic and beautiful images and thought-provoking interviews to highlight the importance of the Laboratory’s research into magnetic fusion.

The video features 19 PPPL “stars,” including Laboratory Director Stewart Prager and a host of scientists, engineers and technicians.

“We wanted to create a new up-to-date video that shows the public the great work we are doing here at the Lab in a friendly, clear and compelling way,” said Deputy Director for Operations Adam Cohen. “This video will be a powerful tool for conveying the essence of our efforts.”

The movie was directed by videographer Kevin Coughlin, an award-winning journalist who formerly covered technology at The Star-Ledger of Newark and has produced several films recently for Princeton University.  Coughlin, who filmed dozens of hours of interviews for the video, has won numerous honors including a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT.  He is founder and editor of the hyperlocal news website

The new movie is the brainchild of Kitta MacPherson, PPPL’s Director of Communications, who saw the importance of having a polished, up-to-date and visually appealing video that offers a dramatic introduction to the Laboratory’s cutting-edge research.

MacPherson noted that all the interviews were unscripted. “This speaks volumes about the intellect and passion of PPPL’s staff,” she said. “This may be one of the few places where a film maker could ask challenging questions and receive eloquent and fascinating answers extemporaneously from so many.”

The video features original music, including “the PPPL Overture,” and graphics by animator Suzanne Slattery. It also includes live footage of the Laboratory, images from NASA, photographs by PPPL photographer Elle Starkman and archival photos.

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and managed by Princeton University, is located at 100 Stellarator Road off Campus Drive on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J. PPPL researchers collaborate with scientists around the globe in the field of plasma science, the study of ultra-hot, charged gases, to develop practical solutions for the creation of magnetic fusion energy as an energy source for the world. Visit