Women+ in Plasma Physics

News Archive


Letter from the Chair

December 21, 2018

Dear all,

As an attendee of the Women in Plasma Physics (WIPP) activities at the 2018 APS-DPP meeting, I hope you will be interested in this WIPP follow-up. We tried some new things in Portland, not all of which worked: we have taken to heart the feedback we’ve received so far and welcome additional input.

First, we would like to emphasize that the WIPP Committee is devoted to understanding and helping to address the concerns of female scientists in the plasma physics community and especially to ensuring that young women feel welcome in environments where there are often more people named Matt than there are women. And while decades of studies show that implicit bias, multiple kinds and degrees of harassment, unequal pay, and different bars of performance can all impact the workplace environments and career trajectories of female scientists (see, for example, this classic paper and studies referenced in these recent articles), some of those real concerns were minimized during the panel discussion at the 2018 evening reception and many others were left completely unaddressed.

As scientists, we know that while we are all entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts: next year WIPP will invite experts to communicate some of the hard data that underlie gender issues in our community and will open new avenues to hear and help with individual concerns. To these ends:

  1. For the 2019 meeting, WIPP has invited Professor Lilia Cortina, an author of the National Academies Study on Sexual and Gender Harassment, to deliver the WIPP luncheon speech and moderate the panel at our evening reception. The panel will include both male and female leaders in our field, and members of the DPP community will be invited to submit anonymous questions for the panel both at the luncheon and online before the meeting.
  2. By Friday of the 2018 meeting, the #MeToo board had 64 pins (many with multiple flowers). With reasonable assumptions, this indicates that about a third of women in DPP were willing to post a visible indication of their experience of harassment or assault. We understand that many people felt uncomfortable posting to the board. Next year, allies identified by flowers on their badges will be available for conversation during the meeting and will help staff a WIPP table in the poster hall. The table will display data from both APS-DPP and larger scientific and academic communities to foster conversation, and the allies will help direct people to resources as needed and coordinate informal mentorships for young scientists.
  3. We are developing plans for new activities including a town hall meeting on inclusion and diversity and a professional skills workshop: stay tuned for updates in the DPP bulletin.
  4. Finally, we plan for this to be the last year that WIPP will administer the DPP-sponsored child care grants and other child-related programs. The programs will continue under a non-gendered APS-DPP committee. Please let me know if you would like to participate in an email list to informally coordinate child care for upcoming APS-DPP meetings.

Again, we always welcome your input by either email to one or more of the WIPP members above or through this anonymous survey, and we invite you to share this email with others you think might be interested.

If you wish to be removed from further email messages regarding Women in Plasma Physics, please let me know.

With best wishes,

Stephanie Hansen, WIPP Chair

Saskia Mordijck, WIPP Vice-Chair

Félicie Albert, Nate Ferraro, Carolyn Kuranz, Elizabeth Merritt, Jeremiah Williams, Raspberry Simpson, Maria Gatu-Johnson, Luis Delgado-Aparicio

Several Job Opportunities at LANL and PPPL

November 26, 2018

There are currently several job opportunities at various institutions. Our members have asked to advertise jobs at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL), where there are several job openings ranging from post-doc to several scientist levels for experimental, computational as well as theoretical plasma physicists. At the same time, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is looking for a post-doc in experimental plasma physics using x-rays post-doc to work at WEST in France. There are also several other openings posted on the PPPL website.


X-ray Post-Doc PPPL


Los Alamos National Laboratory’s mission is to solve national security challenges through scientific excellence. Science at Los Alamos, through 2030 and beyond, will underpin a safe, secure, and effective stockpile; protect against the nuclear threat; and provide solutions to strengthen energy security. A breadth of technical disciplines is pursued at Los Alamos, including physics, engineering, chemistry, biology, computer science, and mathematics. The hallmark of our work is multidisciplinary national security science linking theory, modeling, computation, experiment, and manufacturing, with significant depth in materials and “all-things nuclear.” The jobs are spread over multiple divisions:

Jill Hruby Fellowship

August 15, 2018

Sandia National Laboratory is now accepting applications for the 2019 Jill Hruby Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering (see link). The Hruby Fellowship is one of Sandia National Laboratories’ most prestigious postdoctoral fellowships. This fellowship aims to develop women in the engineering and science fields who are interested in technical leadership careers in national security. Jill Hruby is the first woman to have been appointed director of a large, multidisciplinary national security laboratory and has been a driving force for other women at Sandia and across the country to follow careers in technical leadership.

Jill Hruby Fellows have the opportunity to pursue independent research that supports Sandia’s purpose: to develop advanced technologies to ensure global peace. In addition to receiving technical mentorship, Jill Hruby Fellows participate in a unique, prestigious leadership development program. To be considered for this fellowship, applicants must display excellent abilities in scientific and/or engineering research and show clear promise of becoming outstanding leaders. Fellows may work at either of Sandia’s principal locations in New Mexico and California. All qualified applicants will be considered for this fellowship.

Tenure Track Faculty Job at University of San Diego

August 15, 2018

The Department of Physics and Biophysics at the University of San Diego invites applications for a tenure-track Clare Boothe Luce assistant professorship. This prestigious position, a result of an award from the Henry Luce Foundation, includes exceptional career development support along with a competitive salary and a generous start-up package. The award terms limit the position to female candidates who have a doctorate in physics and are US citizens or permanent residents.

More information can be found through the following link from physics today. The link gives information as to where and how to submit the application. The University of San Diego has an excellent basic plasma physics program and this is an excellent opportunity for a talented young woman to try and join their ranks.

Lecturer in Theoretical Plasma Physics at Imperial College, London

March 14, 2018

The Department of Physics, wishes to appoint a Lecturer in the Plasma Physics Group, in the area of theoretical plasma physics. The appointee will be part of the Plasma Physics Group. The Group comprises 10 academic staff with expertise in the following areas: high energy density plasmas; inertial confinement fusion; MHD plasma modelling; fundamental plasma processes such as reconnection, turbulence and shocks; laser-plasma interactions including particle acceleration; experimental laboratory astrophysics, and magnetic confinement fusion. Some significant activities within the group include: the MAGPIE Z-pinch experiment; the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies; the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science; major collaborations with RAL, AWE, DSTL, Sandia and LLNL. The successful applicant will enhance these research interests. The successful candidate will hold a good undergraduate degree and a PhD (or equivalent) in a relevant subject in addition to an excellent record of research in theoretical plasma physics, evidenced by a portfolio of research publications commensurate with career stage.

More information can be found on Physics Today jobs and to apply please go directly to the imperial college jobs website here.

Postdoctoral Opportunity in Dresden, Germany

March 14, 2018

Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf has an opening for a talented and excited PhD student. The project is in experimental plasma physics and the development of X-ray lasers to probe dense astrophysical-like plasmas. More information can be found on the following website: PhD plasma Dresden

Expanding your Horizons – San Diego

March 5, 2018

eyh_sd.pngEach year, during expanding your Horizons in San Diego, a group of scientists introduces middle school girls to the fascinating world of plasma physics. As has been a tradition for multiple years, a team of plasma scientists will be present to introduce girls to the “exotic plasmas of the universe”. The workshop explores plasmas through hands-on experiences. What follows is an account of the workshop organized last year (2017) by Cami Collins, Alexis Breisemeister, Auna Moster, Kathreen Thome and Livia Casali, all of whom worked on the DIII-D tokamak. There were 3, hour-long sessions throughout the day, attended by a total of 49 7th and 8th grade girls, along with approximately 8 undergraduate mentors.

Last year, the workshop began with a presentation describing what plasma is, where it is found in nature and examples of applications in technology and medicine. To our surprise, nearly half of the students had heard of plasma before! Students learned how nuclear fusion releases energy and how fusion could be used to power the world. They imagined what it would be like to see different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum as they saw spectacular images of the Milky Way Galaxy in different wavelengths, and they learned that plasma can be measured by looking at the light that it emits.

After the introduction, each student built her own hand-held spectrometer with a mailing tube, diffraction film, and a black paper slit. Students then split into small groups and visited stations with many hands-on plasma physics demonstrations, and they loved it! We even heard the comment “This is so cool, this is my favorite workshop!”
Spectra of Different Gases

At each station, the students:
1) used their spectrometers to identify the elements in plasma discharge tubes,

2) detected “invisible” writing using an infrared camera and ice and explored how everyday objects like paper and plastic become windows and walls at infrared wavelengths,

3) used permanent magnets and electromagnets to control an electron beam and “felt” the oscillating magnetic field from a levitating coil, and

4) examined a half-coated fluorescent tube with their spectroscopes and experimented with wireless electricity by lighting fluorescent bulbs with plasma globes.

The team looks forward to a new workshop next Saturday (March 10th 2018) at the University of San Diego. For more information and registration click on the following link.

APS DPP Fellowship Nominations

January 17, 2018

Each year the APS DPP seeks nominations for APS Fellowship. This year the vice-chair for the APS DPP and chair of the fellowship committee, Prof. Ellen Zweibel, would like to share a message on how to initiate the process for nomination for a fellowship through APS-DPP. Below you can find the link to the letter she is sharing with the APS DPP community on how to start the conversation. While the nomination is done by your peers, typically, the person to be nominated will have to approach potential nominators to get the conversation and process started.

How to initiate the nomination process for APS fellowship

The deadline for nominations is March 30th 2018 (https://www.aps.org/programs/honors/fellowships/deadlines.cfm). Also note that the APS DPP is not the only division accepting nominations. Moreover forums and topical groups also accept nominations for individuals that have provided strong contributions to those forums and topical groups. APS Fellowship is not just limited to research excellence. More general information can be found on the APS Fellowship website (https://www.aps.org/programs/honors/fellowships/).


American Physical Society Fellers

November 6, 2017

A great article by Kerstin Nordstrom

TL;DR version

Are women underrepresented as APS fellows? Yes. Is it anyone’s fault? It’s complicated. Is there anything simple that can be done? YES! Any member of APS can nominate a potential fellow starting early in the calendar year, with deadline varying by unit.


October 23, 2017

We have created a short survey to get some insights on what role this website could play. Please go to the following link to fill out the survey and let us know what you think and whether you would be interested in contributing.

APS – DPP News

October 22, 2017

New Fellows

Radha Bahukutumbi from the University of Rochester was awarded fellowship in the American Physical Society by the division of Plasma Physics. She was awarded this honor “For outstanding contributions to understanding physics of direct drive implosions on OMEGA and NIF and for leadership in the national Inertial Confinement Fusion program.”

APS-DPP Executive Committee

During the recent elections for new members to join the executive APS-DPP committee, Tammy Ma (LLNL) was elected as a member-at-large and Ellen Zweibel (University of Wisconsin – Madison) was elected to become the future chair of the APS-DPP. Starting October 27 2017 Ellen will become the vice-chair of the APS-DPP. Anne White (MIT) and Carolyn Kuranz (University of Michigan) have completed 3 years of service on the executive committee and they will retire after the 2017 APS-DPP meeting.

Women in Plasma Physics Leadership

Lorin Matthews (Baylor University) will be retiring as the chair of the women in plasma physics committee and Stephanie Hansen (Sandia National Laboratory), the current vice-chair, will take over the leadership at the end of the 2017 APS-DPP meeting.

Jobs Search: Chair of Physics Department Baylor University

October 13, 2017

Baylor University seeks to fill the following tenured faculty position at the rank of full professor within the College of Arts and Sciences:

Chair of the Physics Department

We are seeking exceptionally qualified candidates to lead the Physics Department and contribute to the University’s focus on developing materials research. The chair is expected to maintain active and internationally recognized research efforts in advanced materials and foster collaboration between STEM programs at Baylor. The successful applicant will build upon the physics department’s commitment to undergraduate and graduate education and research. The department currently consists of 20 teaching and research faculty, 80 undergraduates, and 40 graduate students. Current research areas include nano/quantum optics and surface physics of various materials, high energy and elementary particle physics, complex plasma physics, gravitation and cosmology, and nonlinear dynamics.

Qualifications: Applicants will hold an earned doctoral degree in Physics or a related field and possess a continuing track record of high level interdisciplinary research and scholarly accomplishments, characterized by a strong record of external research funding and publications as well as demonstrated professional leadership. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.

More information can be found here.

Felicie Albert Winner of the Katherine Weimer Award 2017

July 8, 2017

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist Felicie Albert received the 2017 Katherine E. Weimer Award by the American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics (DPP). The award will be presented during the DPP annual meeting the week of Oct. 23-27 in Wisconsin.

Albert was awarded “For pioneering development and characterization of X-ray sources from laser-wakefield accelerators and Compton scattering gamma-ray sources for applications in high energy density science and nuclear resonance fluorescence.” A longer article can be found here.


Welcome to Women in Plasma Physics

July 13, 2016

fellow_aps.pngWelcome to this website where we gather information on Women in Plasma Physics. As this site grows we will offer up-to-date statistics on women in plasma physics. Whenever we find an article which highlights the work or achievements of women in Plasma Physics, we will add it to the news section. In the about us page, you find some information on the committee on Women in Plasma Physics from the American Physical Society (APS-DPP). Given time, we would like to expand this website to include a forum (as long as everybody behaves) and potentially a list of women in plasma physics that can be used by those searching for mentors, as well as those searching for a qualified scientist on a specific topic.