Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Project Matterhorn
Project Matterhorn Publications and Reports
Lewis Science and Engineering Library
Permanent URL:
3 boxes and 3 linear feet


These are reports or publications originating from Project Matterhorn.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Reports or publications originating from Project Matterhorn were issued starting with 1951 with New York Operations Office (NYO) numbers under various listings such as PM-S, PM, PM-Q, Technical Memorandum and Publication Numbers. This collection contains reports and publications issued between 1951 and 1958. Beginning with 1959, all publications issued stopped using NYO numbers (and the corresponding designations mentioned above). All future publications from 1959 on, would bear the prefix MATT.

Collection Creator Biography:

Project Matterhorn

Project Matterhorn was the code name for the controlled thermonuclear research effort started by Princeton University in 1951 under the leadership of Lyman Spitzer. Spitzer was born on June 26, 1914 in Toledo, Ohio. He earned a BA in Physics at Yale University in 1935 and later studied Astrophysics with Henry Norris Russell at Princeton University. Following his PhD. in Astrophysics in 1938, Spitzer held the position of a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.

In 1951, Spitzer outlined the basic concept for creating the steallarator, a device for confining and heating ionized hydrogen gas to release fusion energy for the production of power. He was able to receive support from the US Atomic Energy Commission as well as Princeton University which lay the foundation for starting Project Matterhorn. Project Matterhorn (PM) became later Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (1961), which Spitzer directed until 1967. During his tenure, Spitzer would oversee major breakthroughs in a field he helped develop. Many of his contributions to the field are to be found in his renowned book, Physics fo Fully Ionized Gases (Wiley, 1956).

Lyman Spitzer Jr. died on March 31, 1997. He left behind many grateful friends and admiring colleagues he had inspired during his exemplary career. His legacy is to be found largely in the technology that still struggles to catch up to his visions.

Collection History


Scientific and technical information produced by PPPL employees is disseminated by the laboratory's Publications and Reports (P&R) Office.


Further accruals are expected. A circulation copy and an archival copy of each publication issued by the Laboratory through its Publications and Reports Office is retained by the library.

Processing Information

Report pages were detached from their original bindings and filed in archival containers

Finding aid written by Adriana Popescu in September, 2004. Revised by Adriana Popescu on November 11, 2004. Contributions by Daniel Adiletta, July, 2004.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The School of Engineering and Applied Science technical reports are in the circulating collection of the Lewis Science and Engineering Library on the B floor of the Fine Hall Wing. Email for questions or digitization of materials upon request.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Credit this material:

Project Matterhorn Publications and Reports; Technical and Scientific Reports, Engineering Library, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Fine Hall B Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-3200

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the reports in the PM-S series are available at

Related Materials

Periodic status reports (PM), quarterly reports (PM-Q) and publications (Pub) related to Project Matterhorn activities during the period 1951-1958 have also been issued and are part of the library collection. A collection of Lyman Spitzer's papers is available in the Manuscripts Collection of Princeton's Special Collections Department.

Other Finding Aids

Bibliographic records describing the publications in the PM-S series are available in the library's Main Catalog:

Existence and Location of Originals

The originals are located at Furth Plasma Physics Library.


The research activities conducted at Project Matterhorn have been described in Tanner, Earl. "Project Matterhorn: an informal history" [Princeton, N.J.]: Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory (1977).

Tanner, Earl. "Project Matterhorn: an informal history" [Princeton, N.J.]: Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory (1977), consulted during preparation of scope and biographical note.

Subject Terms:
Controlled fusion
Difference equations
Fusion reactors--Design and construction
Magnetic fields
Mathematical physics
Particles (Nuclear physics)
Plasma (Ionized gases)
Plasma confinement
Plasma heating
Plasma instabilities
Plasma oscillations
Stellarators--Design and construction