graphic depicting eric Esarey, the BELLA laser, and the Phoenix Project building

Michigan Engineering honors NERS alumnus Eric Esarey with Department Merit Award

Esarey is the Director of the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Eric Esary portrait

Eric Esarey, a distinguished alumnus, has been awarded the 2023 Department Merit Award by Michigan Engineering. This award, which recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of engineering, serves as a testament to Esarey’s dedication, innovation, and excellence throughout his professional career.

The Department Merit Awards were established to honor alumni who personify Michigan Engineering’s tradition of excellence and have made significant accomplishments in their respective academic departments. Eric Esarey, a graduate of the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering Radiological Sciences, exemplifies these qualities in every facet of his career.

Esarey currently serves as the Director of the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). He earned his PhD in plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986 and his BS in nuclear engineering from the NERS in 1981. Esarey’s distinguished career includes a tenure at the Naval Research Laboratory from 1986 to 1998 before joining LBNL in 1998.

Over the course of his career, Esarey has made significant contributions to the field of plasma physics, with an impressive portfolio of over 300 refereed journal articles covering topics such as intense laser interactions with electron beams and plasmas, advanced acceleration concepts, novel radiation sources, and related areas of study. His dedication to advancing scientific knowledge has earned him numerous accolades, including the prestigious 2010 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research from the American Physical Society, the 2018 Advanced Accelerator Concept Prize, and the 2019 Directors Award for Exceptional Achievement from LBNL.

In recognition of his groundbreaking work, Esarey was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1996. This honor was conferred upon him “In recognition of his seminal scientific contributions to the physics of intense laser-plasma interaction,” further solidifying his status as a luminary in the field of plasma physics.

“We are extremely proud to see Eric receive this well-deserved honor,” said NERS Chair Todd Allen. His contributions to the field of plasma physics have been nothing short of remarkable, and he continues to inspire our students and faculty alike.”

portrait of Alec Thomas, Carolyn Kuranz, Eric Esarey, and Karl Krushelnick
Alec Thomas, Carolyn Kuranz, Eric Esarey, and Karl Krushelnick.

Esarey visited the department on September 22 and gave a talk on the current activities and research focus of the BELLA Center related to laser-plasma accelerator (LPA) research and applications. NERS extends its warmest congratulations to Dr. Esarey and looks forward to celebrating this outstanding achievement.

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