Lawrence University Physicist Discusses Electron Plasma Research in Science Hall Colloquium

Lawrence University physicist Matthew Stoneking discusses his current research with electron plasmas and their potential role in the future production of electric power Monday, April 25 in a Science Hall Colloquium.

Stoneking presents “Confining Electron Plasmas in a Toroidal Magnetic Field” at 4:15 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, Stoneking will outline some basic plasma physics experiments in which electrons are trapped in a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) magnetic field. He will explain how charged particles, which flow along magnetic field lines like beads on a wire, can be exploited in experiments that might lead to a nuclear fusion type of power source.

Pure electron plasmas are collections or “clouds” of electrons that are confined in a vacuum chamber using magnetic and electric fields. Stoneking’s research focuses on the criteria needed for confining a stable electron plasma in a toroidal magnetic field and the factors that limit the duration of the confinement in such systems.

Since joining the Lawrence physics department in 1997, Stoneking has received three grants in support of his research, including a $178,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in 2003. He earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Wisconsin.