Dr. Christina Back is Vice President of Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS). She is an internationally-recognized expert in both fission and fusion energy research, with over 25 years of experience leading research in private industry and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. She regularly serves on committees for the National Academy of Sciences, the DOE, national laboratories and universities. She has provided testimony to U.S. Congressional Committees and in 2015 participated in the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy.
Dr. Back earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Florida. Prior to coming to General Atomics, she led R&D in the Inertial Confinement Fusion program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, leading fundamental experiments in radiation transport that provided an underpinning to the Stockpile Stewardship Program. She has over one hundred peer-reviewed publications in research areas that include radiative heating, opacity, x-ray conversion efficiency, spectroscopy, charged-particle diagnostics, materials synthesis, inertial confinement fusion and nuclear energy. In 2004, she was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
At GA-EMS, Dr. Back is responsible for nuclear fission programs and specialized materials technology development. The primary focus of her division is space nuclear propulsion and power, building off the General Atomics involvement in space nuclear programs starting in the 1960’s and the current DOE-funded programs for the GA-EMS Fast Modular Reactor and Accident Tolerant Fuel. The growth into nuclear space is deliberate and focused on providing the U.S. with cutting-edge technologies to meet defense and NASA missions. Dr. Back firmly believes nuclear energy must be part of the mix to meet U.S. and global energy needs. She is committed to bringing innovation through engineered materials and advanced technologies to make transformational advances in the energy and defense sectors.