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  5. UW-Madison fusion experiments earn nearly $11 million in grants

UW-Madison fusion experiments earn nearly $11 million in grants

Researchers with two University of Wisconsin-Madison plasma fusion experiments have received $10.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. The Helically Symmetric eXperiment (HSX) drew $5.1 million, plus an additional $900,000, while two grants to the Pegasus Toroidal Experiment total $4.7 million.

Dating back nearly a half-century, the UW-Madison programs in plasma physics and fusion technology are among the oldest, broadest, largest and most productive programs like it in the nation.

By generating and harnessing plasma, or highly heated ionized gas, in a variety of fusion experiments, UW-Madison faculty, staff and students hope to develop technologies capable of delivering a clean, virtually inexhaustible source of energy. They also study the basic properties of plasma, plasma science and astrophysical phenomena, and plasma-aided manufacturing techniques.

One key area of emphasis is on magnetic plasma confinement and magnetic fusion; with experts in several additional areas, the programs span three departments in two colleges. Collectively, these programs—in the Departments of Engineering Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering and the Department of Physics in the College of Letters and Science—receive about $12 million annually in Department of Energy research funding, primarily from the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.

On campus, the programs include approximately 75 faculty and staff members, 60 graduate students and 30 undergraduate students whose education and research frequently cross departmental and college boundaries. And, nearly 350 PhD recipients—more than any other U.S. university—are making important contributions in industry, government, universities and laboratories around the world.

Read about the two fusion experiments that received funding:

Sandra Knisely and Renee Meiller