A malfunctioning magnetic coil forced the shutdown of NSTX-U, the flagship fusion reactor at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, after operating for 10 weeks. Following the coil failure this past summer, the lab announced that Stewart Prager had resigned Sept. 26 as director. “It is best for new, continuing leadership to shepherd the rebuilding of the facility and the engineering changes that will be needed,” said Prager, an astrophysics professor who is taking a year’s sabbatical.
NSTX-U began operations in December after a $94 million upgrade to double its magnetic field strength and plasma current. PPPL spokesman Larry Bernard said the original schedule called for a six-month maintenance shutdown in late 2016; the additional time needed for coil repairs has not yet been determined. He said the experiment had produced “10 weeks of data” before the coil malfunctioned, and that other fusion and plasma physics research at the lab would continue.
A 14th alumnus killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been remembered in the Sept. 11 memorial garden outside Chancellor Green. A new star (foreground below) inscribed with the name of PHILIP GUZA *72, who worked on the 105th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center, was added after the University learned earlier this year of his death in the attacks.
The GRADE-POINT AVERAGE for undergraduates rose slightly across all departments and programs during the 2015–16 academic year, continuing a trend following the elimination of grading targets in 2014. The average GPA across all courses rose from 3.390 in 2014–15 to 3.422 last year, a faculty committee reported.
Associate professor of chemistry JANNETTE CAREY and astronomy professor JAMES GUNN received a two-year National Science Foundation grant for a program to make college-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses available to New Jersey prison inmates. The program was one of 37 projects funded by the NSF with a goal of increasing STEM education for underserved populations.