Elizabeth Paul, a Rising Star in Plasma Physics, Wins Award From the American Physical Society

Elizabeth Paul, a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has won the prestigious and highly competitive 2021 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award.

The award, presented by the American Physical Society, honors Dr. Paul’s dissertation, which applied a mathematical tool used to design cars and airplanes to advance the development of stellarators — twisty magnetic bottles that aim to produce on Earth the fusion energy that drives the sun and stars. Fusion energy produced by stellarators — or more widely used doughnut-shaped tokamak devices  — could become a virtually limitless source of safe and clean power for generating electricity. The society honored Dr. Paul “for pioneering the development of adjoint methods and application of shape calculus for fusion plasmas, enabling a new derivative-based method of stellarator design.”

“I feel extremely honored to receive this award,” said Dr. Paul. “There’s only one plasma physicist every year who receives this award, and there are very many recent Ph.D. students who have done high-quality research.”

Dr. Paul is pursuing a variety of interests as a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow, a three-year designation that in her case will be funded by Princeton University for the first two years, then the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory for the third year. “I have a lot of freedom and can study what I want to study,” she said.

Dr. Paul is a native of Portland, Oregon. She earned her undergraduate degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 2015. She holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland.

Filed Under: AwardsSTEM Fields


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