The Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society has selected Elizabeth Paul (Ph.D. '20) for the Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award. This prize is awarded to one person each year for the best Ph.D. thesis in plasma physics. Dr. Paul will receive a $2,000 prize and the opportunity to discuss her dissertation, “Adjoint methods for stellarator shape optimization and sensitivity analysis”, at the division's annual meeting November 8-12, 2021.
At UMD, Paul worked with Matt Landreman and Williiam Dorland studying stellarators, devices in which plasmas are confined using magnetic fields with carefully designed shaping. In her thesis, Elizabeth devised efficient methods to compute how physics properties of the plasma change if there are changes to the plasma’s shape or to the shape of the confining electromagnets. She was named a UMD Grad School Outstanding Research Assistant and received a $15,000 award from the Metro Washington Chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation. She twice received the IREAP Graduate Student Seminar Best Speaker Award.
Following her doctorate, Paul accepted a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Princeton University, returning to the campus where she graduated magna cum laude in astrophysical sciences in 2015.