Prize Recipient

Max Fenstermacher

Max E. Fenstermacher
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


"For the first experimental demonstration of the stabilization of edge localized modes in high-confinement diverted discharges by application of very small edge-resonant magnetic perturbations, leading to the adoption of suppression coils in the ITER design."


Max Fenstermacher has been a physicist in the Magnetic Fusion Energy Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) since 1988. He graduated with a double major in mathematics and physics from Kalamazoo College in 1978, and completed both his M.S. (1980 – ELMO Bumpy Torus) and Ph.D. (1983 – Stochastic Differential Equations in the Kinetics of Magnetized Plasmas) in nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan. He began his career on location at LLNL as a member of the TRW plasma physics group supporting the MFTF-B tandem mirror.  In 1988 he joined the LLNL staff supporting the Microwave Tokamak Experiment (MTX) to couple the ALCATOR-C tokamak to a free electron laser (FEL). His other research interests have included fusion reactor optimization studies for both tandem mirrors and tokamaks, lower hybrid current drive simulations, divertor detachment physics and 2D fluid modeling, high temporal resolution edge localized mode (ELM) characterization, and quiescent H-mode (QH-mode) research. His primary research focus since 2005 has been the control of ELMs in tokamaks including ITER, using 3D magnetic perturbation fields. Max is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi and the American Physical Society.  He currently serves as a U.S. representative to the ITER Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), has been the chair of the ITPA ELM Control working group since 2008, and has served for eight of the last 10 years as the experimental coordinator for the DIII-D tokamak program.

Selection Committee:

2018 Selection Committee Members: Walter Gekelman, UCLA (Chair); Scott Parker, UCB (Vice-Chair);  Marilyn Schneider, LLNL; Mario Borghesi, Queens Univ. if Belfast; Venkattraman Ayyaswamy, Univ. of Cal, Merced.