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The early history of fusion discoveries, 1930s-1940s

February 23, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Haviland Hall rm. 12

Dr. Mark B. Chadwick

Chief Scientist & Chief Operating Officer for the Weapons Physics Associate Laboratory Directorate, ALDX, at Los Alamos


I will describe the early breakthroughs in determining DT and DD fusion cross sections in the 1940s. Berkeley played a key role in making tritium in the cyclotron for the first 1943 measurement at Purdue. DT was first measured for the Manhattan Project, when a surprising result was obtained: that DT is 100 times larger than DD. This led to the realization that DT is enhanced by a 3/2+ resonance in the A=5 system that is at just the right energy. Our modern capabilities in nuclear science are also described, and contrasted to these early beginnings. This has forever impacted the potential for nuclear fusion energy. I will also share some perspectives on career opportunities at Los Alamos.


Mark Chadwick is Chief Scientist & Chief Operating Officer for the Weapons Physics Associate Laboratory Directorate, ALDX, at Los Alamos. Previously he served as Deputy Associate Director, Division Leader for Computational Physics (XCP) and as Program Director for the Science Campaigns. He has worked at Los Alamos for thirty years; prior to that Chadwick obtained his BA (1983) and doctorate (1986) from the University of Oxford. Chadwick’s research career is in nuclear science. He chairs the national collaboration that oversees the development of ENDF (Evaluated Neutron Data Files – evaluation committee) — the USA’s cross sections that are widely used in neutronics simulations. He has 250 publications of which over 110 are in refereed research journal papers. He is a Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a recipient of the DOE’s E.O Lawrence Award. Chadwick also leads the Applied Nuclear Science and Engineering (ANSE) component of Los Alamos’ nuclear “pillar”, helping coordinate lab-wide research in theory, experiment, and simulation.


February 23, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Haviland Hall rm. 12

4153 Etcheverry Hall, MC 1730 (map) University of California
Berkeley, California 94720

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