Martin Greenwald


Senior Scientist

Deputy Director, MIT PSFC


University of California, Berkeley, PhD, 1978
University of California, Berkeley, MA, 1975
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS, 1973
MIT PSFC researcher since 1978
PSFC leadership since 2000


Plasma physics; magnetic confinement fusion; turbulence and transport; data management and computing; fusion community leadership; consensus building


Martin has conducted physics research on the Alcator A, C, and C-Mod high-field tokamaks. He led the efforts that were the first to exceed the breakeven criteria for the density-confinement time product. His work 
was instrumental in establishing the “Greenwald density limit”, an internationally-recognized standard for tokamak design and operation. For the past decade he has been the scientific lead for the PSFC Alcator C-Mod team, coordinating scientific exploitation of the device and dissemination of results both with the local group and with collaborators. This has involved managing a diverse group of academics and engineers from many laboratories, balancing priorities and building teams. Martin is a world leader in magnetic fusion, among the most cited authors in fusion energy, and has been on many advisory panels for laboratories and experiments. He is widely seen as a convener and consensus builder in the plasma physics community and often represents the MIT PSFC in that capacity. He served for 6 years as the chair of the Federal advisory panel for fusion energy and led the “Greenwald” report in which the community identifed the remaining technological and physics hurdles for commercialization of magnetic fusion energy. Martin has been a key idea leader in the project, steering the framework of the risk-retirement strategy and the physics basis for SPARC.

Role on SPARC Project

As a long-time tokamak physicist Martin brings valuable insight into the technical components, risks, and risk-retirement strategies. His ability to build consensus and coordinate research priorities will continue to aide in the design, R&D, and exploitation stages of program. As the Deputy Director of the PSFC, Martin guides the science vision of the Center in supporting the high-field approach to fusion. As a long-time MIT leader with strong ties across the Institute, Martin will continue to steer the interfacing of SPARC to the wider MIT ecosystem. In addition, Martin’s stature and visibility within the plasma physics and fusion community enable him to be an ambassador for SPARC. This will provide a strong base for recruiting the expertise of the thousands of scientists around the world researching fusion into the project directly and indirectly.

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