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Tri Alpha Energy fires up new plasma machine

Tri Alpha Energy's Norman plasma generator
Tri Alpha Energy’s plasma generator has been nicknamed “Norman” in honor of the company’s late co-founder, physicist Norman Rostoker. (Tri Alpha Energy Photo)

Tri Alpha Energy, the fusion energy venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it has achieved first plasma in its latest generator.

The $100 million device at Tri Alpha’s lab in Foothill Ranch, Calif., had been known as C-2W, but it’s been renamed “Norman” in honor of company co-founder Norman Rostoker, a fusion physicist who died in 2014 at the age of 89.

“We believe this machine will continue to prove the approach to plasma physics he first envisioned and to which he dedicated his life,” Michl Binderbauer, Tri Alpha’s president and chief technology officer, said today in a news release.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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