R. Paul Drake

R. Paul Drake

Henry Smith Carhart Collegiate Professor Emeritus of Space Sciences


Climate & Space Research Building 2455 Hayward Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143

Related links


  • Ph.D., M.S., Physics, Johns Hopkins University
  • B.A., Philosophy & Physics, Vanderbilt University

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- 2012
  • Member, Women in Plasma Physics Committee of the American Physical Society, 2008 – 2011
  • Member, Physics Advisory Council, Center for Self-Organization in Magnetized Plasmas, 2005-2008
  • Member, Advisory Council for UCLA’s LAPD User Facility, 2000-2008
  • Member, High Energy Density (Betti) Report Subcommittee, Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, 2008
  • External member, JASONS review of National Ignition Campaign, January 2009
  • Member, Facilities Funding and Programs Study Group of the NRC Decadal Survey Astronomy & Astrophysics 2010, 2009
  • Chapter Lead, DOE Research Needs Workshop (ReNeW) on High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas, 2009-2010
  • Member, Weapons Science Review Committee, Los Alamos National Lab, 2008-2014
  • Chair, Working Group on Laboratory Astrophysics, Amer. Astro. Society, 2010-2011
  • Member, Koonin Committee for review of progress in the National Ignition Campaign, Oct. 2010- 2012
  • Steering committee member, DOE Office of Science Workshop on Basic Research Directions at the National Ignition Facility, May 2011
  • Member, Executive Committee to initiate the Laboratory Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, 2012-
  • Member, Proposal Review Committee for the Linear Coherent Light Source, 2013-
  • Member, LMJ-PETAL Basic Science Review Committee, 2014
  • Member, Executive Committee, Omega Laser Users Group, 2008-present
  • Member, Executive Committee, National Ignition Facility Users Group, 2012-present
  • Member, Editorial Board, High Energy Density Physics, The Journal, 2008 – present.
  • Member, Editorial Board, Physics of Plasmas, 2014-2018
  • 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

Research Interests

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


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


  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1989
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Vanderbilt University, 1975
  • Distinguished Lecturer in Plasma Physics, APS/DPP 2003
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentorship UROP 2003
  • Departmental Research Excellence Award, 2009
  • Dist. Faculty Achievement Award, Rackham Graduate School, 2013
  • Ted Kennedy Family Faculty Team Excellence Award, 2014
  • Edward Teller Award, American Nuclear Society, 2017
  • H. Scott Fogler Award for Professional Leadership and Service, 2020
  • John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, American Physical Society, 2020