MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center
The Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a research laboratory for the study of plasma physics and nuclear fusion. Originally the Plasma Fusion Center, it was founded in 1976.
The PSFC consists of five interrelated divisions:
- Alcator C-Mod Project: Compact, high magnetic field tokamak
- Fusion Technology and Engineering
- Physics Research Division
- Fusion Theory and Computation Group
- Levitated Dipole Experiment (LDX): Levitated dipole magnetic confinement (collaboration with Columbia University)
- Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF): Magnetic reconnection studies.
- High Energy Density Physics (HEDP) Group
- Advanced Plasma Diagnostics Group
- Ionospheric Plasma Research Group
- Plasma Technology
- Waves and Beams
The first director was Ronald Davidson, although prior to Davidson, Albert Hill was interim director during the formation of the Center. The Center was founded at the request and with the collaboration of the U.S. Department of Energy, which funds most of the research at the PSFC through a Cooperative Agreement. The original grant was for construction and operation of a tokamak reactor (Alcator, the predecessor of Alcator C-Mod).
Lawrence Lidsky, an MIT professor of Nuclear Engineering and Associate Director of the PFC until 1983, wrote an article in the MIT Technology Review questioning the ultimate feasibility of Fusion and subsequently left his post at the PFC, although he continued as an MIT Faculty member.
Professors and students from a variety of departments work in the PSFC, along with the organic research staff and technicians, including Nuclear Science and Engineering, Physics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and others. This is in accordance with the interdisciplinary lab/center concept that is at the heart of many of MIT's laboratories and centers. No degree is granted by the PSFC itself, although many graduate and undergraduate theses are accomplished through working with the Center's staff.
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