Aggies Contribute To Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough
“This is, literally, center of the sun kinds of extremes,” Zika said. “This is a remarkable facility, a global gem.”
Zika was Adams’ first Ph.D. student starting in January of 1993. Originally from Ohio, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from Purdue University.
Adams had just joined the faculty after more than five years at LLNL as a computational physicist.
“I went to Texas A&M because of Marv Adams,” Zika said. “He had been doing just what I wanted to do and what I have done in my career. He was — and is — a fantastic mentor and friend.”
Following the Dec. 5 breakthrough, test results were reviewed for several days internally and by an independent outside panel of experts to ensure they were accurate before they were announced to the world.
Humbird and her teammates waited anxiously.
“It was surreal,” she said by telephone from the lab. “After it happened, our team was thrilled. We were exchanging emails and plotting preliminary data onto our expectations. The figures we sent around — everything just kind of lined up. Then it started to sink after a couple days. This looks like it’s going to be a really, really big result.”
Humbird, 31, joined LLNL in 2017 as a student researcher and completed her Ph.D. research at the lab. She also has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M.
“I got a fantastic education,” she said. “I was so well-prepared with physics and engineering understanding when I got here. It really kind of surprised me. My favorite part of that university was the relationships that I got to build with my professors. They were never too busy for you.”
Humbird took classes from Adams, who served on her Ph.D. committee and now reviews her work at LLNL.
“It is kind of a joke we share because he was my professor, he graded my exams, he graded my Ph.D., and he’ll just be reviewing me for the rest of my career,” she said. “It was cool to see him up on the stage this week and to know how many students that he’s impacted, inspired and set on career paths.”
This story was originally published by Texas A&M Today.