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Del Favero Prize

The Del Favero Thesis Prize, established in 2014 with a generous gift from alum James Del Favero (SM ’84), will be awarded annually to a PhD graduate in NSE whose thesis is judged to have made the most innovative advance in our field.


Mingda Li, MIT NSE

Radiation explorer and designer: Radiation physics today for materials science tomorrow

In addition to the well-established applications of radiation such as radiotherapy or power source, in this presentation, two other roles radiation can play — “Explorer” and “Designer” — will be discussed. As explorer, the modern spectroscopies and microscopies are indeed built on high Q-factor radiations, which benefit our research to probe material properties other methods can hardly achieve; as designer, based on a principle of TTT (Trash-To-Treasure), we’ll envision a picture together, that how radiation byproducts such as crystal dislocations can be utilized to systemically alter material properties in a controllable way. In particular, an exact and manageable quantum theory of dislocations will be introduced, allowing the study of dislocation to materials’ non-mechanical properties from a fundamental Hamiltonian level.

Mingda is currently carrying out research as a postdoc at MIT Mechanical Engineering Department, advised by Prof. Gang Chen and Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus. In 2015 he received his PhD in Nuclear Science and Engineering Department from MIT, advised by Prof. Ju Li and Dr. Jagadeesh Moodera, and previously his BS in Engineering Physics Department from Tsinghua University in 2009, advised by Prof. Ling-An Wu and Prof. Yao Cheng. His research expertise is in applications of ionizing radiations to material sciences and condensed matter, including interaction of radiation and matter, neutron, photon and electron spectroscopies, and radiation induced disordered system, etc.


Zach Hartwig, MIT NSE

Some aspects of size, surfaces, and simulation in pursuit of magnetic fusion energy

Drawing largely from my time as a PhD student in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Plasma Science and Fusion Center, this talk — for expert and non-expert audiences alike — will first synthesize my research and then distill concrete directions for the future of magnetic fusion energy. I hope to convince you that — within the shifting context of global fusion research — our research efforts at NSE and PSFC on the topics of the plasma-material interface and fusion device size are now poised to significantly accelerate the development of commercial fusion energy.

Zach Hartwig received his PhD in nuclear science and engineering from MIT in 2014 and his BA in physics from Boston University in 2005. He has spent the better part of his scientific career doing interesting things at the end of particle accelerator beamlines, from making the highest precision measurement of the muon lifetime to understanding the interaction of plasmas and materials in magnetic fusion devices to remotely probing industrial cargo for smuggled nuclear materials.

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