Laura Xin Zhang

Advisor: F. Poli
President of Princeton Women in Plasma Physics
Email Address:

Laura (张歆) came all the way from the other side of the "big pond" otherwise known as the Pacific ocean. Born and raised in the beautiful seaside city of Dalian, China, her life-long dream is to live in a city with water. There are no beaches in Princeton, so the Delaware canal will just have to do for now.

In 2012, Laura came to the United States to enroll at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, sunny California. She dabbled in almost all STEM majors available there (except chemistry, and yes biology) and eventually ended up in computational physics. Although she eventually settled down, her enthusiasm for cross-disciplinary science never faded.

She came to Princeton Plasma Physics in 2016. She spent her first few years in the LTX group developing ion particle diagnostics, and wrote simulations on the side. For her PhD thesis research she is currently working with Dr. Francesca Poli on core-edge coupled simulations for tokamak plasmas. She also does side projects on using machine learning to help plasma physics.

Since coming to Princeton, Laura has become a passionate advocate for women in STEM. She frequently guest-lectures at plasma physics workshops hosted at PPPL and Princeton University. Since the founding of the PWiPP, she also enjoyed taking the squad out to the broader NJ/PA region and participate in CUWiP conferences. She loves to hear from and connect with younger students interested in physics or plasma physics - and hey, nothing wrong with cold emails!

In her free time, Laura likes to cook, binge watch HIMYM, and update this website :p

Want to learn how to pronounce her (or your other friends') Chinese name(s)? Check out this hilarious and embarrassing tutorial she made once upon a time...