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Steffi Diem speaking on a panel at the White House fusion energy summit
March 25, 2022

Diem participates in White House fusion energy summit



Stephanie Diem, an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics, was a featured panelist at the March 17, 2022, White House Summit on “Developing a Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy.”

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy organized the event, which convened fusion energy leaders from government, industry, academia, and other stakeholder groups to showcase progress made and have inclusive conversations about an updated fusion strategy for the United States.

Diem at the White House
Diem at the White House summit.

Diem spoke on the Energy Justice and Public Engagement panel and discussed how to ensure that the benefits of fusion are shared in equitable and just ways across our communities.

An expert on fusion energy and experimental plasma physics, Diem’s research focuses on using microwaves to heat and drive current in magnetically confined, high-temperature plasmas for fusion energy development. She is the principal investigator of the UW-Madison Pegasus-III experiment, a new magnetic confinement fusion experiment funded by the U.S. Department of Energy studying innovative plasma startup techniques in an effort to reduce the cost and complexity of future fusion reactors.

The summit is the first step in the Biden administration’s initiative to accelerate viable commercial fusion energy.

Fusion, which is the same reaction that powers the sun, has the potential to be a game-changing technology to help the United States achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, increase energy security, and enhance U.S. technology leadership, the White House said in its announcement of the summit.

Alum Greg Piefer (BSEE ’99, MSNEEP ’04, PhDNEEP/MedPhys ’06), the founder and chief executive officer of SHINE Technologies, was also invited to speak at the summit. SHINE Technologies, a spinoff from technology developed at the UW-Madison College of Engineering, is working toward becoming the world’s leading medical isotope producer.

Read a White House fact sheet about the summit.