Dr. Zachary WilliamsAssistant Professor of Physics
Dr. Williams joined the Department of Physics at Hope College in fall 2019. His research is focused in the subfield of physics concerning the fourth state of matter, plasma. Plasmas are hot, electrically charged fluids that are found in nuclear fusion experiments and make up 99.99% of the normal matter that fills the universe. The study of plasmas has application in nuclear fusion energy, space physics and astrophysics. Dr. Williams has spent the majority of his career up to this point studying plasma turbulence in fusion confinement device through the use of computational and mathematical methods. His current interests are focused around using reduced mathematical models to better understand plasma tearing modes and magnetic reconnection, which play a significant role in fusion energy confinement and also are central to phenomenon of coronal mass ejections seen on the surface of the sun. Dr. Williams is excited to explore these topics with the bright and energetic students at Hope.
Dr. Williams also has a passion in effective physics education and enjoys teaching topics across the physics curriculum (though electricity and magnetism will always be his favorite). He is thrilled to be at a place like Hope College that places such a strong emphasis on personalized interaction between students and faculty. Dr. Williams also serves as the faculty adviser for the College's Society of Physics students and always welcomes any opportunity to geek out with students that have an interest in physics.
Areas of expertise
- Gyrokinetic modeling of fusion plasmas
- Turbulence theory and computation
- Reduced models of plasma turbulence
- Ph.D., physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2019
- B.S., physics, University of Central Florida, 2013
Honors, Grants & Awards
- Michigan Space Grant Consortium Seed Grant, “Examining Reduced Model Descriptions of Tearing Modes in Solar Plasmas,” 2020–2021
- “Impact of Resonant Magnetic Perturbations on Zonal Flows and Microturbulence,” with M.J. Pueschel et al., Nuclear Fusion, 2020
- “Direct Measurement of a Toroidally Directed Zonal Flow in a Toroidal Plasma,” with T. Nishizawa et al., Physical Review Letters, 2019
- “Measurements of impurity transport due to drift-wave turbulence in a toroidal plasma,” with T. Nishizawa et al., Physical Review Letters, 2018
- “Observation of trapped-electron-mode microturbulence in reversed field pinch plasmas,” with J.R. Duff et al., Physics of Plasmas, 2018
- “Turbulence, transport, and zonal flows in the Madison symmetric torus reversed-field pinch,” with M.J. Pueschel, P.W. Terry and T. Hauff, Physics of Plasmas, 2017
Outside the College
Dr. Williams enjoys having fun with friends, playing ultimate frisbee, card games, making music, appreciating craft beverages and hiking through nature. And, of course, consuming science fiction and fantasy in whatever form he can find it.