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Fusion energy research led by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) Director Rob Goldston motivated Trenton artist Rein Triefeldt to carve a giant plasma sculpture. Plasma is the hot, ionized gas used as fusion fuel. Triefeldt coated his collaborative creation with resin and painted it a vivid pink, the color used to depict plasma produced in fusion devices ‹ although fusion plasmas would be most visible to those able to see X-rays.

Speaking of seeing, Goldston said, "It was great fun to see our science through the eyes of an artist. Rein perceived the mysterious beauty of NCSX and created a delightful celebration of plasma."

The sculpture is caged inside a 16-foot aluminum tubing structure modeled on the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) structure. A stellarator ‹ or star generator ‹ is an experimental fusion machine. Inside the device, a magnetic field confines the plasma. NCSX is under construction as the centerpiece of the U.S. effort to develop the physics and determine the properties of the compact stellarator as the basis for a fusion power plant.
NCSX is being built at PPPL in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is expected to begin operating in 2009. The Triefeldt-Goldston plasma sculpture resembles the complex plasma shape that will be produced by NCSX.

PPPL provided the structure for Triefeldt's sculpture. Along the path with plantings provided by MOON Landscaping is a curved "chair" that is a prototype segment of the actual vacuum vessel that will keep air away from the plasma in NCSX. This prototype is on loan from PPPL, as well as a box with two magnetized balls representing atomic nuclei undergoing fusion. MOON Landscaping also provided a spiral juniper tree that was secured inside the stellarator structure, representing one of the central magnet windings.

Triefeldt said of the Stellarator installation, "For me this project is about the exchange of concepts and learning ...it's about peace on Earth through passive energy, about solving the riddle of abundant energy without hazardous by-products."

Four custom-made solar panels atop the sculpture are from EPV, of Lawrenceville, N.J. These provide the energy to turn the juniper tree.

The resin was provided by AQUA-RESIN® and is an easy to use, non-toxic composite fabricating resin, a water-based material.

Read about it on www.pppl.gov:
Quark Park Features Goldston-Triefeldt Plasma Sculpture

Quark Park is being developed by Kevin Wilkes, AIA; Peter Soderman; and Alan Goodheart, ASLA. The World Hope Foundation has joined forces with this team to be the fiscal agent for the project. The World Hope Foundation mission supports self-determination in communities by bringing resources to community members and educational experts that are willing to step forward and enhance the lives of their children and elders. The Foundation is a qualified as a Federal 501 (c)(3) charitable organization and as such is eligible to solicit and support charitable causes.
World Hope Foundation
Web design and photos by Cie Stroud are © 2006

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