Pacific Physics alum David Pace (2002) recognized for contributions to fusion research

Dr. David Pace

Pacific Physics alum David Pace was awarded the prestigious American Physical Society‘s 2014 Landau-Spitzer Award for his contributions to understanding the physics of nuclear fusion.

David completed his B.S. degree in Physics at the University of the Pacific in 2002. His desire to study nuclear fusion developed following his participation in a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in 2001 at the National Spherical Torus Experiment, run by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where a mega-Ampere current run inspired his excitement for tokamak research.

He went on to earn a Ph.D. in experimental plasma physics at UCLA, working at the Large Plasma Device Laboratory there. With teams at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility through the University of California, Irvine, and at the Alcator C-Mod National Tokamak Facility, Dr. Pace helped commission fast ion loss detector diagnostic systems, leading to new studies of loss mechanisms through wave-particle interactions. He is a U.S. member of the International Tokamak Physics Activity Energetic Particles Topical Group, and leader of the United States Burning Plasma Organization Energetic Particles Group. He is presently a staff scientist with General Atomics and continues to engage in energetic ion research topics anticipated to influence the operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).

The Landua-Spitzer Award specifically recognizes

an individual or group of researchers not exceeding three, for outstanding theoretical, experimental or technical contribution(s) in plasma physics, and for advancing the collaboration and unity between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA) by joint research, or research that advances knowledge which benefits the EU and USA communities in a unique way.

The Award consists of a $4000 honorarium and a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient. The citation for Dr. Pace reads:

For greater understanding of energetic particle transport in tokamaks through collaborative research

Congratulations David!

To learn more check out the links in the text above,  especially

  • the ITER project site to learn more about the international project to build a nuclear fusion reactor, and
  • this article, “A Star in a Bottle” in The New Yorker magazine


Tea Time in the Physics Lounge

tea time in Physics 8sep2015

The first Physics Department Tea Time kicked off this week on Tuesday, with majors Robert Ashby, Vaughn Petersen, Sarah Antonsson, Louis Johnson, and Christian Mercolini joining faculty members Drs. Flohic [seated], Hetrick, Basu, and Holland for tea, coffee, and discussions of new physics results, GRE preparation, and campus life.

Tea Time is every Tuesday at 3pm in the Physics Department’s Student Lounge, and is open to all. We hang out, talk about what we’ve been reading, working on, beating our heads against, and otherwise thinking about. This week there was some discussion about statistics in lattice gauge theory , as well as preparations for those taking the GRE soon. We also welcomed new major Christian Mercolini who is adding a B.S. in Physics to his CV. Christian is finishing up his degree in International Affairs and Finance, but discovered that he has a great passion for astrophysics and has decided to extend his education so that he can explore this new interest.

Join us each Tuesday afternoon for tea with faculty and students in the Physics Department Lounge, just beside room 101 in Olson Hall.