Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


R. Paul Drake
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R. Paul Drake

Henry S. Carhart Collegiate Professor of Space Sciences

Director, CRASH

AOSS graduate advisor
Program: PhD in Atmospheric and Space Sciences and PhD in Space and Planetary Physics

Phone: (734) 763-4072
Fax: (734) 647-3083


Ph.D., M.S., Physics, Johns Hopkins University

B.A., Philosophy & Physics, Vanderbilt University


Experimental, theoretical and computer simulation of laboratory, space and astrophysical plasmas

Personal Introduction

Dr. Drake was featured in the BBC's documentary Hyperspace (2001) and the Discovery Channel's Engineering the Universe (2009).

Specializations and Research Interests

  • High Energy Density Physics
  • Experimental astrophysics; nonlinear hydrodynamics and radiation hydrodynamics
  • Plasma waves in interplanetary and interstellar space

Honors, Awards and Accomplishments

  • Elected Fellow, American Physical Society, 1989
  • Distinguished Lecturer in Plasma Physics, Division of Plasma Physics, American Physical Society, 2003
  • Director, Center for Radiative Shock Hydrodynamics
  • Co-leads large investigative team exploring astrophysical processes using the Omega laser
  • Pioneer in the new area of experimental astrophysics, aimed at improving understanding of astrophysical dynamics through laboratory research
  • Directed Plasma Physics Research Institute at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and UC-Davis
  • Devised system for laboratory simulation of supernova remnants and studies of high-Mach-number plasma flows
  • Numerous first observations and theoretical discoveries in the area of laser-driven plasma instabilities
  • Groundbreaking studies of confinement and impurities in magnetic fusion using mirror machines

Professional Service

  • Member, 2004 Fellowship Committee, Divison of Plasma Physics, American Physical Society
  • Member, Plasmas Advisory Council for Large-Axis Plasma Device User Facility (UCLA) Physics Advisory Committee, Center for Magnetic Self-Organization in Laboratory and Astrophysical
  • Member, Executive Committee, University Fusion Association, 2002-2004
  • Member, Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship Committee, 2007
  • Member, Working Group on Laboratory Astrophysics, American Astronomical Society, 2007- present
  • Member, Women in Plasma Physics Committee of the American Physical Society, 2008 - 2011
  • Member, Physics Advisory Council, Center for Self-Organization in Magnetized Plasmas, 2005-present
  • Treasurer, High Energy Density Science Association, 2006- present
  • Extensive service to the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society
  • Served on organizing committee or as chair of numerous major scientific conferences

Professional Memberships

  • American Physical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Astronomical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Vacuum Society
  • Optical Society of America


Updated: 2015-02-24