Allen H. Boozer


287B Eng Terrace
Mail Code 4701

Tel(212) 854-4785

Allen Boozer is a professor of Applied Physics whose theoretical work has contributed to a number of areas of plasma physics: (1) The development of magnetic fusion as a potential source of electricity and clean energy.  (2) The proof of the Hamiltonian structure of magnetic fields and of the guiding center drift equations. (3) The demonstration of the fundamental differences between the conventional two-coordinate models of magnetic reconnection and the physics of reconnection in the three-dimensional world.

Research Interests

His primary research interest is the development of mathematical formulations that are required for studies of plasmas that have a non-trivial dependence on all three spatial coordinates.

Boozer’s work has been essential to understanding and advancing magnetic confinement for fusion energy. He has developed groundbreaking design principles for magnetic containing devices that address major issues that have arisen with the use of the helically-shaped torus. His ideas have been tested in the Helically Shaped Experiment (HSX) at the University of Wisconsin and Wendelstein 7-X in Germany, the world’s largest optimized stellarator (fusion reactor).  

Boozer was one of two recipients to receive the 2010 Hannes Alfvén Prize, the best-known European award in plasma physics. He was honored at the June 2010 conference of the Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society, along with his colleague Jürgen Nührenberg from the Max Planck Institute, for “outstanding work in the formulation of criteria allowing stellarators to improve fast particle and neoclassical energy confinement.”

Boozer received his BA in physics from the University of Virginia in 1966 and his PhD in physics from Cornell in 1970. He joined the faculty of Columbia Engineering in 1994. Previously, he taught at the College of William & Mary from 1986 to 1994 and was a research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1974 to 1986, where he became acting head of the theoretical division in 1985. Boozer also held the first U.S.-Japan fusion-theory visiting professorship at Nagoya University in 1982 and from 1970 to 1974 served in the U.S. Air Force, for which he received a medal of Commendation.


  • Professor, Applied Physics, Columbia, 1994 –
  • Professor, Physics, College of William and Mary, 1986 – 1994
  • Research Physicist, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, 1974 – 1986
  • Officer, U.S. Air Force, 1970 – 1974


  • American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics
  • Scientific member, German Max Planck Society


  • Chair, APS Division of Plasma Physics, 1998 – 2001
  • President, University Fusion Association, 1992
  • Editorial Board, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 1992-95
  • Associate Editor of the Physics of Plasmas, 1992-94
  • Secretary/Treasurer of APS Division of Plasma Physics, 1989-1990
  • Scientific member, German Max Planck Society (Auswärtiges Wissenschafliches Mitglied der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft), 1989
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1982
  • First U.S.-Japan fusion-theory visiting professorship, Nagoya University, 1982