William W. Heidbrink

Professor of Physics & Astronomy
(949) 824-5398
4180 Frederick Reines Hall
Lab Phone: 
(949) 824-9177
Lab Office: 
4126 Frederick Reines Hall
Research Area: 

Ph.D., Princeton University, 1984
B.A., University of California, San Diego, 1977

Professor Heidbrink earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1977. For the next two years he performed industrial research in pulsed power at Maxwell Laboratories. In 1984, he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. After working as a staff member on the TFTR tokamak (Princeton) and the DIII-D tokamak (General Atomics), he joined the UCI Physics Department in 1988. He was the 1995 recipient of the Lauds & Laurels award for Distinguished Teaching and was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1996. In 2004, he received the Excellence in Plasma Physics Research award from the American Physical Society.

Professor Heidbrink studies high energy "fast" ions in magnetic fusion experiments. Instabilities that are driven unstable by the free energy in the fast-ion population are a major area of study. Other important topics include diagnostic development and measurements of fast-ion confinement. The research is conducted on two facilities. The DIII-D tokamak in San Diego is the leading magnetic fusion facility in the USA. The properties of fast ions in a spherical tokamak are measured in the NSTX-U device at Princeton. An introduction to this research area appears in a 2015 Physics Today article. An introduction at the level of plasma physics graduate students appeared in a 2008 review paper.

In addition to his research, Professor Heidbrink enjoys teaching all levels of the curriculum, from large introductory courses to graduate plasma physics. He also trains undergraduates to perform physics assemblies in neighboring elementary schools.

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