Scientists discuss National Ignition Facility at annual AAAS meeting

Author: Shadia Ajam

Last week Ani Aprahamian, Freimann Professor of Physics, organized a symposium at the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting in downtown Chicago.


At the symposium, four physicists primarily discussed the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s largest and most energetic laser facility ever built. The NIF recently reached an important milestone on the road to achieving ignition, which could pave the way to the production of controlled fusion reactions on Earth.

“The work at NIF is really is at the gut of understanding matter. We think we understand a lot about plasmas and nuclear matter, but in reality, we don’t. What you can do with NIF is at the frontiers of knowledge,” said Aprahamian.

Other scientists involved in the discussion included, Johan Frenje (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge), Narek Gharibyan (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California), and René Reifarth (Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany).

This year’s AAAS meeting focused on finding sustainable solutions through inclusive, international, and interdisciplinary efforts. The meeting included more than 150 sessions on topics including global public health security, dark matter discoveries, climate change at the poles, therapeutic video games, advances in STEM education, and more.