New Applied Physics Faculty Member: Elizabeth Paul

January 01, 2023

The Plasma Physics Laboratory at Columbia Engineering is proud to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Paul to the Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics faculty as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Applied Physics.

Professor Elizabeth Paul

Dr. Elizabeth Paul uses theoretical and computational methods to study the magnetic confinement of plasmas for fusion energy sciences. Controlled fusion holds promise of providing a carbon-neutral, safe, and sustainable energy source. Her work focuses on the advancement of the stellarator magnetic confinement concept, a complex toroidal device which enjoys enhanced stability properties.

Dr. Paul’s research integrates applied mathematical techniques to improve the design of stellarator configurations through numerical optimization. She studies the rich behavior present in three-dimensional magnetic confinement devices, including the nonlinear dynamics of fast particle populations.

Dr. Paul received her A. B. in Astrophysical Sciences with concentrations in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Applications of Computing from Princeton University in 2015. In 2020 she received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2021 Dr. Paul received the Marshall N. Rosenbluth Award from the American Physical Society in recognition of her doctoral work, “For pioneering the development of adjoint methods and application of shape calculus for fusion plasmas, enabling a new derivative-based method of stellarator design.” Prior to joining Columbia University, Dr. Paul was a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University.

Dr. Paul will be building her on-campus theory and computation research group in addition to building partnerships with the experimental efforts at Columbia University’s Plasma Laboratory. Paul looks forward to partnering with and teaching the next generation of plasma physicists and further developing the Columbia plasma curriculum.