The Director of the newly-formed Office of Experimental Science, Dr. Njema Frazier, recently attended the 45th International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) in Denver, and spoke about the scientific landscape in high energy density (HED) physics and the advanced work being done in NNSA’s Defense Programs.
HED physics research performed by NNSA has emerged as one of the frontiers of plasma science for the 21st century. The halt to underground nuclear explosive weapons testing in the 1990’s launched the current era of science-based stockpile stewardship for the maintenance of our nuclear weapons. NNSA is required to regularly certify that our stockpile is safe, secure, and effective. HED scientists recreate the extreme temperatures and pressure conditions found in a nuclear reaction and study the resulting data using powerful supercomputers.
“The ability to create, control, and diagnose such extreme states of matter is not only vital to the Stockpile Stewardship Program, it is also fundamental to our understanding of the visible universe,” said Frazier.
ICOPS is an annual conference coordinated by the Plasma Science and Application Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society. The program of the 2018 ICOPS covered both traditional areas of plasma science and new exploratory research areas. The conference offered an outstanding forum for scientists and engineers to learn further about some of the greatest advances in plasma science and technology in recent years and to discuss future directions of research.