C16: Plasma Physics

C16: Plasma Physics

The Commission on Plasma Physics (C16) was established by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 1969 to promote the exchange of information and views among the members of the international scientific community in the general field of Plasma Physics.

2016 IUPAP Young Scientist Award

SamSam Vinko M.Vinko 

Sam Vinko received his Master’s degree from the University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy) in 2007, and his doctorate from the University of Oxford (UK) in 2011 working with Prof. Justin Wark, investigating the interaction of intense XUV light with solid-density matter on the FLASH free-electron laser (FEL) in Hamburg (Germany). He was awarded the Culham thesis prize from the UK Institute of Physics for this work in 2012. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford he worked extensively on the Linac Coherent Light Source FEL in Stanford (USA), showing how intense X-rays could be used to create and study plasmas at temperatures and densities similar to those found half-way towards the centre of the Sun, with exquisite precision and control. Dr. Vinko was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2014 and now leads a research group at the University of Oxford focused on investigating matter in extreme conditions using X-ray FEL sources. He shared the 2015 Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, awarded by the American Physical Society for outstanding achievement in plasma physics.

His Citation reads : ‘In recognition of his seminal contributions in using the world’s first hard x-ray free electron laser to create and diagnose solid density plasmas, and for new insights into the electronic structure and collisional dynamics of such systems.’

2015 IUPAP Young Scientist Award

The 2015 Young Scientist Award for the Commission on Plasma Physics (C16) were awarded to Dr Livia Lancia and Dr Christian Theiler.  The awards were presented at the recent ICPIG conference held in Iasi, Romania from July 26-31, 2015. The Vice Chair of C16, Dr. M. Q. Tran, presented the awards on behalf of the Commission.

Dr. Livia Lancia


After her Bachelor degree, Dr. L. Lancia got her Master in « Scienze per l’Ingeneria » from University of Rome, La Sapienza in 2006. Both for her Bachelor and Master degrees, she got the highest final mark 110/110. She then performed her PhD work in the field of laser plasma interaction, which was awarded on 2010 as a joint PhD between the University of Rome, La Sapienza  and the Ecole Polytehnique, Palaiseau (France). The thesis title was « Study of non-linear effects on laser propagation and electron transport in plasmas”. After a post-doctoral period at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, she is now a Researcher – Teacher at the same University. She also conducts research as Principal Investigator at the Laboratoire d’Utilisation des Lasers Intenses, LULI (Fr). In parallel with her research activities, she teaches Physics at the University of Rome.

Dr. Lancia’s laudation reads : “For experimental contributions to our understanding of laser-matter interaction phenomena, including Brillouin amplification of laser beams and magnetic fields self-generation in plasmas.”

Livia Lancia Presentation

Livia Lancia (left), recipient of the 2015 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Plasma Physics receiving the award from Minh Quang Tran [Vice Chair, IUPAP Commission C16]

Dr. Christian Theiler

Christian TheilerDr. Christian Theiler got his master degree in physics from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich ETHZ in Zurich (CH). He then joined the Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas (CRPP) of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL in Lauasanne, CH) for his PhD thesis, which he got in 2011. His thesis, “Basic Investigation of Turbulent Structures and Blobs of Relevance for Magnetic Fusion Plasmas”, got a Special Distinction among the Best Thesis of the EPFL.  He then moved to the Plasma Science and Fusion Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his postdoctoral years (2012-2014). During this period, he was also granted a Swiss National Science fellowship as an advanced postdoctoral fellow. In 2014, he won one of the EUROfusion post-doctoral fellowships and came back to the CRPP. Besides his research activities on the CRPP tokamak TCV, he also participated in the preparation of the first massive open online course MOOC on plasma physics.

Dr. Theiler’s laudation reads: “For pioneering work on the physics of the edge of magnetically confined plasmas and its influence on fusion performance and on the interaction between the plasma and the surrounding material walls.”


Minh Quang Tran [Vice Chair, IUPAP Commission C16] (right), presenting the 2015 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Plasma Physics to Christian Theiler


2013 Young Scientist Award


Bob Bingham [Chair, IUPAP Commission C16] (left), and Peter Bruggemann, recipient of the 2013 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Plasma Physics.


Peter Bruggemann, recipient of the 2013 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Plasma Physics.