Elizabeth Tolman, MIT

Elizabeth Tolman

Graduate Student



Libby Tolman is a Physics Ph.D. Candidate at MIT and a member of the Loureiro Group.  Her thesis work focuses on computational studies of the stability of Alfvén eigenmodes at high magnetic field.  She also has broad interests ranging from the theory of magnetic reconnection to tokamak pedestal structure to fusion reactor design. Before coming to MIT, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Physics at Princeton University.


Ph.D. in Physics, MIT, 2015-present
A.B. in Physics, Princeton, 2015

Awards and honors

Student Award, Transport Task Force (April 2017)
Kurt Forrest Fellow (2015)
Phi Beta Kappa (May 2015)
Allen G. Shenstone Prize in Physics (May 2015)
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (April 2015, declined to accept National Science Foundation Fellowship)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (March 2015)
Rhodes Scholarship Finalist (November 2014)
Kusaka Memorial Prize in Physics (June 2014):
Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence (September 2012)
Pyka Memorial Prize in Physics (August 2012)

Personal Website



E.A. Tolman, N.F. Loureiro, P. Rodrigues, J.W. Hughes, E.S. Marmar, Dependence of Alfvén eigenmode linear stability on device magnetic field strength and consequences for next-generation tokamaks (Submitted)

A. Q. Kuang, N.M. Cao, A.J. Creely, C.A. Dennett, J. Hecla, B. LaBombard, R.A. Tinguely,E.A. Tolman, H. Hoffman, M. Major, J. Ruiz Ruiz, D. Brunner, P. Grover, C. Laughman, B.N. Sorbom, and D.G. Whyte, Conceptual design study for heat exhaust management in the ARC fusion pilot plant (Accepted to Fusion Engineering and Design)

J.W. Hughes, P.B. Snyder, M.L. Reinke, B. LaBombard, S. Mordijck, S. Scott, E.A. Tolman, S.G. Baek, T. Golfinopoulos, R.S. Granetz, M. Greenwald, A.E. Hubbard, E. Marmar, J.E. Rice, A.E. White, D.G. Whyte, T. Wilks, S. Wolfe, Access to pedestal pressure relevant to burning plasmas on the high magnetic field tokamak Alcator C-Mod , Nuclear Fusion 58, 112003 (2018). 

M. Schmidtmayr, J.W. Hughes, F. Ryter, E. Wolfrum, N.M. Cao, A.J. Creely, N.T. Howard, A.E. Hubbard, Y. Lin, M.L. Reinke, J.E. Rice, E.A. Tolman, S.J. Wukitch, Y. Ma, Investigation of the critical edge ion heat flux for L-H transitions in Alcator C-Mod and its dependence on BT , Nuclear Fusion 58, 056003 (2018). 

E.A. Tolman, N.F. Loureiro, D.A. Uzdensky, Development of Tearing Instability in a Current Sheet Forming by Sheared Incompressible FlowJournal of Plasma Physics 84, 905840115 (2018). 

E.A. Tolman, J.W. Hughes, S.M. Wolfe, S.J. Wukitch, B. LaBombard, A.E. Hubbard, E.S. Marmar, P.B. Snyder, and M. Schmidtmayr, Influence of high magnetic field on access to stationary H-modes and pedestal characteristics in Alcator C-Mod , Nuclear Fusion 58, 046004 (2018). 

A.E. Hubbard, S.-G. Baek, D. Brunner, A.J. Creely, I. Cziegler, E. Edlund, J.W. Hughes, B. LaBombard, Y. Lin, Z. Liu, E.S. Marmar, M.L. Reinke, J.E. Rice, B. Sorbom, C. Sung, J. Terry, C. Theiler, E.A. Tolman, J.R. Walk, A.E. White, D. Whyte, S.M. Wolfe, S. Wukitch, X.Q. Xu and the Alcator C-Mod team, Physics and performance of the I-mode regime over an expanded operating space on Alcator C-ModNuclear Fusion 57, 126039 (2017).

J.E. Rice, J.W. Hughes, P.H. Diamond, N. Cao, M.A. Chilenski, A.E. Hubbard, J.H. Irby, Y. Kosuga, Y. Lin, I.W. Metcalf, M.L. Reinke, E.A. Tolman, M.M. Victora, S.M. Wolfe and S.J. Wukitch  On the ρ scaling of intrinsic rotation in C-Mod plasmas with edge transport barriersNuclear Fusion 57, 116004 (2017). 


Fusing her research interests (MIT Spectrum)

Fusing theory and practice (PSFC)

Magnet races and neon sword (PSFC)

Connecting with kids at AAAS (PSFC)

PSFC fusion outreach ignites in Spring (PSFC)

School year's end brings increased demand for PSFC outreach (PSFC)