Plasma you can touch, ball lightning and fusion power plants

Long Night of Science at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching

June 10, 2015

The research devices of Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) will be on display, magically illuminated, on Saturday, 27 June, 2015. IPP is taking part in the “Long Night of Science”, being presented by the institutes on Garching’s research site from 6 p.m. till 12 p.m.

Everything at IPP evolves around plasma, a highly interesting state of matter: The plasmas being investigated in the large-scale ASDEX Upgrade research device as fuel for a future power plant are of ultra-low density but many millions of degrees hot. Here on the spot – in conversing with experts, in talks, films, guided tours and an exhibition – visitors are told how energy is to be produced in a fusion power plant according to the principle of the sun.

Visitors can also familiarise themselves with plasmas of moderate temperature and influence or manipulate them in the form of plasma balls or spirals. Likewise, energy-saving lamps and neon tubes reveal their physical secrets – again, plasmas are involved. They may even be at the back of ball lightning. This phenomenon is being tackled experimentally at Garching. During the Long Night IPP scientists will be raising plasma balls glowing like ball lightning from a water surface.

Children are being treated to a programme of their own with handicrafts, little experiments and a children’s lecture entitled “Wir machen’s der Sonne nach!”.

For information on all the events offered on the research site log into

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