Phil Snyder

Phil B Snyder

Interim Division Director for Fusion Energy

Philip B. Snyder was named Interim Division Director for Fusion Energy in April 2023, after serving for two years as the Section Head for the Burning Plasma Foundations Section.

Snyder previously served as Director of the Theory and Computational Science department at General Atomics. He has extensive experience serving as principal investigator of large projects, leading groups and departments, and focusing research efforts on high-impact problems for the development of fusion energy. He has also collaborated with fusion experimental programs around the world, including DIII-D, Alcator C-Mod, NSTX, JET, JT-60U, MAST, ASDEX-U, and COMPASS.

Under his leadership, the Burning Plasma Foundations section is developing the scientific understanding needed to address key fusion problems, including core-edge integration, transient control and mitigation, plasma-material interactions, and high-performance steady-state operation.   The section is developing an integrated simulation capability for the coupled core-pedestal-boundary-wall system, including innovative approaches to simulate the edge and boundary plasma, and developing advanced diagnostic, actuator, and control capabilities.   The section collaborates with fusion facilities around the world, and is strongly engaged in preparation for research on ITER, and in the design and optimization of a US fusion pilot plant.

Snyder’s research has focused on electromagnetic plasma turbulence, and on the stability and dynamics of the edge region of magnetic fusion plasmas, particularly the physics of the edge transport barrier (“pedestal”) and edge localized modes (ELMs). He developed a predictive model of the pedestal (EPED), which has been coupled to models of the core plasma to predict and optimize performance of existing and future fusion devices.  He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, including five first-author papers which received special recognition from journals.  He is a fellow of the APS (2010), and a recipient of the Rosenbluth Award for Fusion Theory (2004), the APS Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research (2013), and the IAEA Nuclear Fusion Prize (2014).  He has engaged in numerous fusion community planning activities including serving as a member of the National Academies Committees on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research (2017-19), and Key Goals and Innovations Needed for a U.S. Pilot Plant (2020-21).

Snyder received his bachelor’s degree in the computational physics program at Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Plasma Physics from Princeton University.