NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


Anne White

Anne White

Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Research Administration
School of Engineering Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Deb Shafran (Executive Assistant) 617-253-2029

Plasma Science & Fusion Center
MIT Alcator C-Mod


Anne E. White is the School of Engineering Distinguished Professor of Engineering at MIT. She received her PhD in Physics at UCLA and performed research at the Electric Tokamak (UCLA), NSTX (PPPL) and DIII-D (General Atomics) before joining MIT as a faculty member in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE). At MIT, Prof. White has served on a number of Institute-wide committees and currently co-chairs the MIT Climate Nucleus, charged with managing and implementing MIT’s new climate action plan. Prof. White's research focuses on magnetic fusion energy (MFE). Her work has included research in diagnostic development, turbulence and transport physics, and transport model validation on four tokamaks; Alcator C-Mod, ASDEX Upgrade, DIII-D, and NSTX-U. At MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Prof White had served as Assistant Division Head for MFE Collaborations and ran the Gyrokinetic Simulation Working Group, and the Alcator C-Mod Transport Group. She currently sits on the federal advisory board, Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC), and serves as Chair. She helped write the 2018 FESAC Report “Transformative Enabling Capabilities for Efficient Advance Toward Fusion Energy” and the recent 2021 FESAC Report “Powering the Future: Fusion and Plasmas. The reports define the role of fusion as a transformative technology and and lay out strategic actions and recommendations for the future of the US fusion program. Anne was recently one of a select group of speakers to attend a White House Summit on a Bold Decadal Vision for Fusion Energy.

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics, 2019
  • Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor, MIT, 2014
  • American Physical Society Katherine E. Weimer Award, 2014
  • Fusion Power Associates Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award, 2014
  • Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching, MIT, 2014
  • PAI Outstanding Faculty Award (MIT student chapter of the American Nuclear Society, 2013
  • Norman C. Rasmussen Career Development Professor, MIT, 2012–2014
  • Department of Energy Early Career Award,  2011–2016
  • Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award, 2009
  • US Department of Energy Fusion Energy Postdoctoral Research Program Fellow, 2008–2009
  • UCLA Graduate Division Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2007–2008
  • US Department of Energy ORISE Fusion Energy Science (FES) Fellowship, 2004–2007

Professional Societies

  • American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics (APS-DPP)
  • American Nuclear Society (ANS)


Small fluctuations in tokamak plasmas lead to turbulence, and turbulent eddies can very effectively transport heat from the hot core across confining magnetic field lines out to the cooler plasma edge. Predicting this phenomenon of turbulent-transport is essential for the development of fusion reactors. In order to improve predictive capability by testing and validating models of turbulent-transport, detailed measurements of fluctuations in high-performance, reactor relevant tokamak plasmas are required. Diagnostic techniques that allow for simultaneous measurements of fluctuations in plasma density, temperature, and flows in the core and edge of tokamaks and stellarators are presently being developed. In our group, we develop and use radiometers (electron cyclotron emission systems) for temperature fluctuations in tokamaks, reflectometers and interferometers for density fluctuations, as well as coupled radiometer/reflectometer instruments that allow for simultaneous measurement of temperature and density turbulence. With these new measurement capabilities we will improve our understanding of how turbulence is suppressed and how the turbulent-transport of particles, energy and momentum can be separated from one another. The new data from these measurements allow for stringent tests of turbulent-transport models. Presently, we are interested in determining what kinds of turbulent modes are dominant in different regions of operating space; specifically comparing small scale electron turbulence with larger scale ion turbulence, as part of ‘multi-channel transel validation efforts’. Close collaboration between experiment, theory and simulation is a key aspect of this work.


Selected Publications

  1. X. Chen1, J. Ruiz Ruiz, N. T. Howard, W. Guttenfelder, J. Candy, J. W. Hughes, R. S. Granetz, and A. E. White, Feasibility study for a high-k temperature fluctuation diagnostic based on soft x-ray imaging, Review of Scientific Instruments 92, 053537 (2021)
  2. S.J. Freethy, T. Goerler, A.J. Creely, G.D. Conway, T. Happel, A.E. White and the ASDEX Upgrade Team, Validation of ion-scale gyrokinetic simulations with measurements of electron temperature fluctuations and density-temperature phase angles on ASDEX Upgrade, Phys. Plasmas, 25, 055903 (2018).
  3. P Rodriguez-Fernandez, A E White, N T Howard, B A Grierson, G M Staebler, J E Rice, X Yuan, N M Cao, M J Greenwald, A E Hubbard, J W Hughes, J H Irby and F Sciortino, Explaining cold-pulse dynamics in tokamak plasmas using local turbulent transport models, Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 075001 (2018).
  4. P. Rodriguez-Fernandez, A. E. White, A. J. Creely, M. J. Greenwald, N. T. Howard, F. Sciortino and J. C. Wright, VITALS: A Surrogate-Based Optimization Framework for the Accelerated Validation of Plasma Transport CodesFusion Science and Technology, (2018).
  5. Jerry W Hughes, Philip B Snyder, Matt L Reinke, Brian LaBombard, Saskia Mordijck, Steve Scott, Elizabeth A Tolman, Seung Gyou Baek, Theodore Golfinopoulos, Robert Granetz, Martin J Greenwald, Amanda E Hubbard, Earl S Marmar, John E Rice, Anne E White, Dennis G Whyte, Theresa M Wilks and Stephen M Wolfe,  Access to pedestal pressure relevant to burning plasmas on the high magnetic field tokamak Alcator C-Mod, Nucl. Fusion (2018).
  6. A. E. White, Validation of Nonlinear Gyrokinetic Transport Models using Turbulence Measurements, Journal of Plasma Physics (2018).
  7. A. J. Creely, T. Görler, G.D. Conway, S.J. Freethy, N.T. Howard, P.A. Schneider, A.E. White, M. Willensdorfer and The ASDEX Upgrade Team, Validation study of GENE on ASDEX Upgrade using perturbative thermal diffusivity measured with partial sawtooth heat pulsesNuclear Fusion 58, 126001 (2018).
  8. A. J. Creely, S. J. Freethy, W. M. Burke, G. D. Conway, R. Leccacorvi, W. C. Parkin, D. R. Terry, and A. E. White, Correlation electron cyclotron emission diagnostic and improved calculation of turbulent temperature fluctuation levels on ASDEX Upgrade, Review of Scientific Instruments 89,  053503 (2018).
  9. A. J. Creely, P. Rodriguez-Fernandez, G.D. Conway, S.J. Freethy, N.T. Howard,A.E. White, and The ASDEX Upgrade Team, Criteria for the importance of multi-scale interactions in turbulent transport simulations.
  10. JR Ruiz, W Guttenfelder, AE White, NT Howard, J Candy, Y Ren, DR Smith, NF Loureiro, C Holland, CW Domier Validation of gyrokinetic simulations of a National Spherical Torus eXperiment H-mode plasma and comparisons with a high-k scattering synthetic diagnostic, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion IOP Publishing 61 (2019) 115015-115015.
  11. 10. A. J. Creely, L. M. Milanese, E. A. Tolman, J. H. Irby, S. B. Ballinger, S. Frank, A. Q. Kuang, B. L. Linehan, W. McCarthy, K. J. Montes, T. Mouratidis, J. F. Picard, P. Rodriguez-Fernandez, A. M. Rosenthal, A. J. Sandberg, F. Sciortino, R. A. Simpson, R. A. Tinguely, M. Zhou, and A. E. White, Design study of a combined interferometer and polarimeter for a high-field, compact tokamakPhysics of Plasmas 27, 042516 (2020).



22.67 Principles of Plasma Diagnostics
22.012 Seminar in Fusion & Plasma Physics
22.071j/6.071j Electronics, Signals, & Measurement
6.651/8.613/22.611 Intro to Plasma Physics I
8.03 Physics III: Vibrations and Waves (Recitations)