As theoretical physicists...

We aim to understand the phenomenology of plasma in the laboratory and in the cosmos. We use mathematical models and computer simulations to explain how plasmas move, interact with magnetic fields and boundaries, and evolve on various scales.

Working with collaborators in the U.S. and around the world, we advance fundamental physics concepts that guide experiments and project applications, such as the development of magnetic fusion energy.

This website offers information about our group members, research activities, and publications. We invite you to browse it and to contact us with any questions.

Special Announcements

SWIP logo

1st Chengdu Theory Festival

Thank you to the scientists who joined us for last month's Chengdu Theory Festival. You made this first-ever conference an incredible success! Special thanks to the organizers and the Southwestern Institute of Physics for hosting more than 120 students and 25 lecturers.

The Chengdu Theory Festival aims to promote collaboration and education at the cutting edge of research in theoretical fusion plasma physics and related fields. Early career scientists, postdocs, and PhD students have in-depth discussions with leading researchers and collaborate on current theory (similar to Festival de Theorie).

From our UC San Diego research group, Prof. Pat Diamond and Prof. George Tynan gave lectures on turbulence, drift waves, and density limits. Prof. Pat Diamond also served as chair of the Scientific Organizing Committee.

Again, thank you to everyone who attended and made this festival possible! We look forward to seeing you at the next Chengdu Theory Festival. Visit the conference website to view topics, learn more about SWIP's Center for Fusion Science, and find lectures and videos posted from the conference.

Participants of the First Chengdu Theory Festival 2018

Rima Hajjar

Rima Wins at TTF

Congratulations to Rima, who won a Student Presentation Award at the U.S. Transport Task Force (TTF) Workshop in May.

Poster title: "Dynamics of Zonal Shear Collapse in Hydrodynamic Electron Limit ↔ Transport Physics of the Density Limit"

View Presentation

Learn more about Rima

Xiang Fan presenting at a 2017 conference

Xiang Wins at Sherwood

Congratulations to Xiang Fan, who won a Student Poster Award at the Sherwood Fusion Theory Conference in April.

Poster title: "Turbulence and Transport in Elastic Media: A New Look at Classic Themes"

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Learn more about Xiang

Jiacong Li

Congratulations, Jiacong!

Jiacong Li defended his doctoral thesis on March 20th. Thanks to all who attended!

Thesis title: "Intrinsic plasma flows in straight magnetic fields: generation, frictionless saturation, and interaction"

View Presentation
View Thesis

Learn more about Jiacong

Rima Hajjar

Congratulations, Rima!

Rima Hajjar defended her doctoral thesis on February 26th. Thanks to all who attended!

Thesis title: "Ecology of flows and drift wave turbulence: reduced models and applications"

View Presentation
View Thesis

Learn more about Rima

color-coded representation of planaria fission process, figure 3a from PNAS paper

Biomechanics research highlighted in Nature Physics

We're thrilled that our recent PNAS paper on fission biomechanics in planaira flatworms was a Research Highlight in the November 2017 issue of Nature Physics.

Get the full PNAS paper.

Upcoming Seminars

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Latest Publications

Mesoscopic Transport Events and the Breakdown of Fick’s Law for Turbulent Fluxes
Hahm, T.S. and P.H. Diamond
J. Korean Phys. Soc. 73(6), 747-792, 2018; doi:10.3938/jkps.73.747
[pdf, author's final version]

Scaling trends of the critical E x B shear for edge harmonic oscillation onset in DIII-D quiescent H-mode plasmas
Wilks, T.M., A.M. Garofalo, P.H. Diamond, Z.B. Guo, J.W. Hughes, K.H. Burrell, and Xi Chen
Nucl. Fusion 58, 112002, 2018; doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aad143
[pdf, accepted manuscript]

Dynamics of Zonal Shear Collapse with Hydrodynamic Electrons
Hajjar, R.J., P.H. Diamond, and M.A. Malkov
Phys. Plasmas 25, 062306, 2018; doi:10.1063/1.5030345
[pdf, author's final version]

How Shear Increments Affect the Flow Production Branching Ratio in CSDX
Li, J.C. and P.H. Diamond
Phys. Plasmas 25, 062112, 2018; doi:10.1063/1.5033911
[pdf, accepted manuscript]

Gyrokinetic theory of turbulent acceleration and momentum conservation in tokamak plasmas
Wang, Lu, Shuitao Peng, and P.H. Diamond
Plasma Sci. Technol. 20, 074004, 2018; doi:10.1088/2058-6272/aab5bc

Tracing the Pathway from Drift-Wave Turbulence with Broken Symmetry to the Production of Sheared Axial Mean Flow
Hong, R., J.C. Li, S. Chakraborty Thakur, R. Hajjar, P.H. Diamond, and G.R. Tynan
Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 205001, 2018; doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.205001
[pdf, publisher's version]

Generation of Parasitic Axial Flow by Drift Wave Turbulence with Broken Symmetry: Theory and Experiment
Hong, R., J.C. Li, R. Hajjar, S. Chakraborty Thakur, P.H. Diamond, and G.R. Tynan
Phys. Plasmas 25, 055710, 2018; doi:10.1063/1.5017884
[pdf, author's final version (accepted manuscript)]

Another Look at Zonal Flows: Resonance, Shearing, and Frictionless Saturation
Li, J.C. and P.H. Diamond
Phys. Plasmas 25, 042113, 2018; doi:10.1063/1.5027107
[pdf, author's final version]

Ecology of Flows and Drift Wave Turbulence: Reduced Models and Applications
Hajjar, Rima
Ph.D. Dissertation, Engineering Physics, UC San Diego, 2018
[pdf, author's version]

Observation of Multi-Channel Non-Local Transport in J-TEXT Plasmas
Shi, Yuejiang, Z. Chen, Z. Yang, P. Shi, K. Zhao, P.H. Diamond, J-M. Kwon, et al.
Nucl. Fusion 58, 044002, 2018; doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aaaa9b

More publications



We develop theory related to plasma and fusion science, including:

  • Nonlinear dynamics of plasmas and fluids
  • Anomalous transport
  • Self-organized criticality in confined plasma
  • L-H transition, transport barrier physics
  • Dynamo theory
  • Nonlinear waves in space plasma

Learn more.



Our work is primarily funded by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy (Grant No. DE-FG02-04ER54738).



In memory of Professor Marshall N. Rosenbluth, an American plasma physicist and UCSD professor of enormous intellect, integrity, generosity, and vision.