Special Release

Alison Christopherson Awarded the 2022 American Physical Society Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis

September 06, 2022
Alison Christopherson with equations.

“Power!! Unlimited Power!!”

Mechanical engineering and Laboratory for Laser Energetics alumna Alison Christopherson ’20 (Ph.D.) quoted the Emperor Palatine from the Star Wars saga at the start of her Ph.D. thesis entitled “Effects of Charged-Particle Heating on the Hydrodynamics of Inertially Confined Plasma.”

Judging from her receipt of the 2022 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award from the American Physical Society, Alison, now a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will be making major contributions to the quest of achieving “Power!! Unlimited Power” through Inertial Confinement Fusion.

The American Physical Society (APS) cites her thesis for “impactful theories of fusion alpha heating and metrics to assess proximity to thermonuclear ignition in inertially confined plasmas, and for the development of a novel measurement of hot-electron preheat and its spatial distribution in direct-drive laser fusion.” Alison, who was advised by Prof. Riccardo Betti and supported by a Horton Fellowship, is the first student from the University of Rochester to receive this award. The Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award was established by APS in 1985 (originally as the Simon Ramo Award) and subsequently has been endowed by General Atomics in honor of the famous plasma physicist Marshall Rosenbluth. Thirty six recipients have received this award since 1985, including LLE Senior Scientist Mike Rosenberg who won the award in 2016 after conducting thesis research at LLE and graduating from MIT.