Prize Recipient

Wolfgang Theobald
University of Rochester


"For major advancements of the shock ignition concept through collaborative experimental and simulation efforts in inertial confinement fusion research."


Wolfgang Theobald is senior scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, U.S.A., which he joined in 2003. He serves as Principal
Investigator (PI) for many experiments exploring the shock-ignition concept on the OMEGA
laser and for the fast ignition experimental program at LLE. In this role, he performed essential
experiments studying the generation and coupling of suprathermal electrons in inertial
confinement fusion plasmas to increase the ablation pressure and to boost the performance of
shock-ignition implosions. Previous work included studies of nonlinear optics in plasmas, high
order harmonic generation, x-ray spectroscopy, and femtosecond laser plasma interaction. Dr.
Theobald has over 170 publications in peer-reviewed journals and over 20 invited talks at major
conferences. He is a member of the American Physical Society and he received in 2018 a
fellowship in the division of plasma physics. Wolfgang Theobald graduated from the Johannes-
Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany, in 1991 with a Diploma in Physics, studying laser
spectroscopy in transuranic elements. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the Georg-
August-University, Göttingen, Germany in 1994 with a work on femtosecond laser generated
plasmas and his habilitation in experimental physics, in the department of Physics and
Astronomy at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany in 2001.

Selection Committee:

2020 Selection Committee Members: Emilia Solano, EPS (Chair); Bill Heidbrink, APS (Vice Chair); Tony Bell, EPS; Li-Jen Chen, APS ; Carlos A. Romero Talamás, APS; Vladimir Tikhonchuk, EPS