Virtual Pressroom 2008

Most of the matter we are familiar with in everyday life comes in three states - solid, liquid, or gas. But much more of the matter in the universe exists in a fourth state known as plasma. Plasmas are gaseous collections of electrically charged particles such as electrons and protons. Stars are primarily composed of hot plasmas. On Earth, plasmas are formed in lightning strikes and produce light in fluorescent bulbs. They are used to inscribe patterns in computer chips and other electronics, and they are also at the heart of the most promising nuclear fusion devices that may someday lead to an abundance of cheap, clean, and safe power sources.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic UN conference on the Peaceful uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva as well as the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics. At the same time this year marks a pivotal look forward as governments and research communities representing over half the world population are collaborating on finalizing the design and starting the construction of the historic ITER experiment which aims to demonstrate the possibility of igniting and controlling a burning thermonuclear plasma. The broad scope and intellectual vitality of plasma research activity are reflected in major advances which span from space and astrophysical phenomena to fundamental experiments on the fourth state of matter, to advances on thermonuclear fusion energy involving the use of magnetically confined plasmas, or powerful beams of light or particles.

These highlights and results of many other subjects will be addressed at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Plasma Physics, to be held November 17-21, 2008, in Dallas, Texas. More than 1600 attendees will present over 1500 papers covering the latest advances in plasma-based research and technology.

The American Physical Society is the world's largest professional body of physicists, representing 46,000 physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the US and internationally.

Highlights & Press Releases

Alfvén waves provide insights into the longstanding problem of the sawtooth crash
American Physical Society Invites Dallas to Discover Plasma
Billions of Anti-Matter Particles Created in Laboratory
First Visualization of Magnetic Explosions in Space
High-speed camera reveals waves and instabilities in hot plasmas
Identified Source of Small-Scale Plasma Turbulence
Intense laser beam enhancement and destruction by
Levitating Magnet Brings Physics of Space to the Laboratory
Magnetic Fusion Enters the Burning Plasma Era
Magnetic tweezers aid island suppression
Making waves with 3-D external magnetic fields in high temperature plasmas
Mixing-up magnetic fields may solve a runaway problem for fusion walls
New Measurements Shed Light On Improved Confinement Regime
New Method for Driving Flows in Plasmas Demonstrated
Observations Of Toroidal Rotation Profiles Show Active Transport Of Momentum
Powerful X-rays Experiments Investigate the Inner Workings of Stars
Reducing small-scale turbulent filaments in a hot fusion plasma
Small change in tokamak plasma shape can make big improvements in fusion performance
Spinning A Fusion Plasma Using Static Magnetic Fields
Surrounding a Tokamak Plasma With Lithium Improves Its Disposition
Taming Noisy, Unstable Plasma using Feedback
Teaching Plasma a New Tune
Understanding ‘fuel economy’ in a fusion reactor