Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1999 Joshua H. Lifton. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics & Astronomy Department

First Advisor

Michael R. Brown

Second Advisor

Brian A. Nelson


This thesis examines a portion of plasma and fusion physics known as magnetic confinement, an area of study which aims to produce a sustainable fusion reactor and study the underlying physics involved. Included are a brief introduction, the development of the ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) theory, and an application of this theory to the Helicity Injected Torus II (HIT II) experiment at the University of Washington in Seattle. In particular, work completed over the summer and winter of 1998 is presented. Details of the design, implementation, and operation of diagnostics used to measure certain boundary conditions (the poloidal current) of HIT II, an analysis of the data collected, and future prospects are given.