Dennis Whyte

Dennis WHYTE

Hitachi America Professor of Engineering
Director, MIT PSFC
Head, Nuclear Science and Engineering


University of Quebec, PhD, 1993
University of Quebec, MSc, 1989
University of Saskatchewan, BEng, 1986
Professor at MIT PSFC since 2006
PSFC director since 2015
NSE department head since 2015


Fusion energy & power plant design; role of innovation in fusion; plasma-material interactions; boundary plasmas; fusion technology


A recognized leader in the field of fusion research using the magnetic confinement of plasmas for energy production on a faster, smaller, and more innovative path. Professor Whyte is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has over 300 publications, and is heavily involved as an educator. He is widely recognized for his themes of innovation and the need for speed and economic viability in fusion. He has served on panels for the National Academies, the U.S. government, and the Royal Society. As PSFC Director he presents the Center’s vision to peer institutions and recruits faculty and scientists to the team. The core of the SPARC project was formed over eight years ago during a design course led by Dennis to challenge assumptions in fusion. Many of the ideas underpinning the high-field approach — including the use of HTS for high-field, demountable magnets, liquid blankets, and ARC — have been conceived of or significantly advanced in these courses. Dennis’s leadership as PSFC Director and Department Head has been a key enabler for the SPARC project, providing the stature necessary to bring the institutional and outside support to the project.

Role on SPARC Project

Dennis has oversight of the MIT side of the SPARC project. He interfaces with the MIT leadership as Department Head of Nuclear Science and Engineering and the Director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center. Dennis will coordinate research activities at the PSFC related to CFS’s sponsored work, steering the administration of the PSFC. He coordinates other activities at the center that are aligned with PSFC’s vision for the high field path to fusion. In addition, Dennis will continue to have teaching responsibilities that ensure a continuing pipeline of the best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students into the fusion effort.

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