Karl Krushelnick and Carolyn Kuranz portraits

Carolyn Kuranz assumes role of Vice Chair, Karl Krushelnick as Past Chair in the Division of Plasma Physics Executive Committee

The objective of the division is the advancement and dissemination of the knowledge, understanding, and applications of plasmas—assemblages of charged particles of natural and laboratory origin.

NERS Profs. Carolyn Kuranz and Karl Krushelnick are currently serving in key leadership roles within the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) Executive Committee. Kuranz has taken on the role of Vice Chair. Krushelnick has transitioned from Chair to Past Chair. Additionally, Prof. John Foster is serving as a Member-at-Large. 

The Vice-Chair and Past Chair positions in the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) operate on a defined four-year trajectory. In the first year, the elected Vice-Chair assumes the role of chairing the Fellowship Committee. Moving into the second year, the Vice-Chair progresses to become the Chair-Elect, taking charge of the Program Committee of the annual APS/DPP conference during this period. THE APS/DPP conference is the world’s largest annual meeting of plasma physicists. Upon entering the third year, the Chair-Elect transitions into the central leadership role as the Chair of DPP. This pivotal position involves overseeing the division’s activities. Finally, in the fourth and concluding year, the Chair of DPP serves as the Past Chair. In this capacity, they provide essential guidance and continuity, leveraging the experience acquired during the preceding years of leadership to support the ongoing initiatives of the division. Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee serve three-year terms. Krushelnick and Foster’s terms will end this November, while Kuranz transitions to Chair-Elect.


Kuranz’s research focuses on high-energy-density plasmas, hydrodynamic instabilities, radiation hydrodynamics, and magnetized plasmas. She researches at high-power laser facilities globally, including the National Ignition Facility and the Omega Laser Facility. Kuranz earned her PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan in 2009 and has been recognized with numerous accolades, including being named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Additionally, she has received the Ted Kennedy Family Faculty Team Excellence Award and the American Astronomical Society Laboratory Astrophysics Division Early Career Award. Currently, Kuranz serves as the Director for the Center for Laboratory Astrophysics, a National Nuclear Security Administration Center of Excellence, and leads the Michigan Target Research and Fabrication (MiTRF) Laboratory, which supports experimental campaigns executed by LaserNetUS.


With a background in physics and a wealth of experience in plasma physics, Krushelnick received his BSc in physics from the University of Western Ontario in 1987. He later earned an MA and PhD from Princeton University in Astrophysical Sciences. Currently, he is the Director of the Gerard Mourou Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) at the University of Michigan as well as Director of the ZEUS Petawatt laser facility at UM – which is an NSF-funded user facility for ultra-high power laser research. Krushelnick is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics and Optica, contributing significantly to the fields of high-field science, nonlinear optics, nuclear fusion, and laser-plasma interactions.


Foster is particularly intrigued by plasma physics issues related to advanced space propulsion, plasma diagnostics, environmental plasma processing, and space and atmospheric plasma phenomena. His interdisciplinary approach to plasma science extends to improving the environment through the application of plasma-based remediation technologies. Foster’s lab places emphasis on applications that safeguard the environment and enhance the quality of life in developing countries. Apart from space-related projects, the lab also engages in research on processing plasma applications, energy conversion, and energy production.

Founded in 1959, the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) is dedicated to advancing and disseminating knowledge, understanding, and applications related to plasmas—collections of charged particles originating from both natural and laboratory sources. The scope of plasma research within the division encompasses the exploration of fundamental interactions among particles and light in plasmas, the examination of astrophysical plasmas ranging from planetary cores to stars, the development of new theoretical and computational techniques for plasma description, and the practical utilization of plasmas in diverse fields such as energy, manufacturing, medicine, agriculture, and national security. Notably, ongoing research in the pursuit of controlled nuclear fusion holds the potential to offer abundant, clean, and sustainable energy solutions to address global needs.

Kuranz, Krushelnick, and Foster bring a wealth of expertise to their respective roles, and their contributions to the Division of Plasma Physics are invaluable as they continue to advance research and innovation in the field.

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