Jonathan Wurtele

Jonathan Wurtele


Office: 441 Birge
Main: (510) 643-1575
Other: (510) 517-8294

Research Area(s): Plasma And NonLinear Dynamics


Jonathan Wurtele received his B.A. (Physics and Mathematics) in 1979 and his Ph.D. (Physics) in 1985 from UC Berkeley. He was a Research Scientist at MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center (1984-87) and Assistant and Associate Professor in MIT’s Physics Department (1987-95). He returned to Berkeley in 1995, where he is now Professor of Physics and Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been a Foreign Research Fellow at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (Japan). He shared the John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research (2011). He is a Member of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) Collaboration, which reported the first trapping of neutral antimatter in 2010, and the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study.

Research Interests

My research interests are in beam and plasma physics, trapping and measuring the spectral and gravitational properties of antihydrogen, free electron lasers, and climate change.

Current Projects
Neutral antimatter physics: I am a member of the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) collaboration, whose goal is to conduct fundamental studies of matter-antimatter asymmetry. Our experiment used antiprotons from the Antiproton Decelerator at CERN.  Until our recent successes with the current ALPHA apparatus, no group had ever trapped neutral antimatter. We have (as of 2011) synthesized and trapped hundreds of antiatoms, with confinement time of anti-atoms from 0.17s to 1000s. We are currently rebuilding our apparatus; the new apparatus should be commissioned in 2014.  Students and postdocs in my group focus on the beam and plasma theory and simulation related to the trapping and synthesizing of antihydrogen. Examples of this work are the development of a Vlasov simulation to model the mixing of antiprotons and positrons and analyzing frictional cooling as a method to increase antiproton flux. More recently, we have been studying the dynamics of, and envisioning new experiments with, antihydrogen. 

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study: The goal of our study is to provide a new, independent, open estimate of the surface temperature changes during the instrumental record. The study, which has, to date, included land stations only, aims to incorporate as much of the available data as possible, to provide all the raw and quality controlled data online, along with the codes used to generate the analysis, and to provide a temperature analysis along with an error estimate. In the near future we will integrate ocean data to obtain a global temperature record.


J. S. Wurtele, “Advanced accelerator concepts,” Physics Today (1994).
V.M. Malkin, N.J. Fisch, and J.S. Wurtele.  “Compression of powerful x-ray pulses to attosecond durations by stimulated Raman backscattering in plasmas.,” Phys. Rev. E 75, 026404 (2007).

O. Naaman, J. Aumentado, L. Friedland, J. S. Wurtele, and I. Siddiqi. “Phase-locking transition in a chirped superconducting Josephson resonator,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 10, 11 (2008).

G. B. Andresen, et al. [ALPHA COLLABORATION] “Evaporative Cooling of Antiprotons to Cryogenic Temperatures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 013003 (2010).

G. B. Andresen, et al., [ALPHA COLLABORATION]. “Trapped Antihydrogen,” Nature, 09610 (2010).

E. Kur, D J Dunning, B. W. J. McNeil, J. S. Wurtele and A. A. Zholents, “A wide bandwidth free-electron laser with mode locking using current modulation,” New J. Phys. 13 063012 (2011).

G. B. Andresen, et al., [ALPHA COLLABORATION]. “Confinement Of Antihydrogen For 1,000 Seconds,” Nature Physics 7, 558 (2011). doi:10.1038/nphys2025

G.B. Andresen, et al., [ALPHA COLLABORATION]. “Centrifugal Separation And Equilibration Dynamics In An Electron-Antiproton,” Plasma. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 145001 (2011).

G.B. Andresen, et al., [ALPHA COLLABORATION]. “Autoresonant Excitation of Antiproton Plasmas.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 025002 (2011).

R. Rhode, et al. [Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study]. Station data, technical reports and code available online at Berkeley Earth (2011/2012).