About

Why the Prosperous Physicist Exists

I believe that people with advanced education in the physical sciences have enormous potential. That potential should be fully realized, for your benefit and mine.  I believe that the majority of physicists who will find their careers in industry have an even better chance to fulfill their potential than the few who become professors.  The key is developing the right career skills.

Over the years, I have mentored many young physicists formally and informally on career issues. The more graduate students and early career physicists I worked with, the more convinced I became that there is an enormous unmet need for career guidance in our field. The Prosperous Physicist is my effort to help meet that need by writing down my answers to the questions I am frequently asked and sharing them broadly. I hope you find it useful.

What You Will Find Here

The Prosperous Physics focuses on non-academic career guidance for physicists.  Most of the material is applicable to the other physical science disciplines as well.  Graduate students and PhDs in their early and mid-career years are the target audience, although undergraduate physics majors may also find it useful.  At least for now, most of the material represents the founder’s personal experience, research, and opinions, which he offers in the spirit of helping others.  There are no warranties express or implied and every reader should decide the truth of what is written here for themselves.

About the Founder

Matthew C. Thompson, PhD is Director of Physics at TAE Technologies, the world’s largest privately-funded fusion energy development effort backed by $500 million in private capital. He leads the 50 scientists and technical personnel of TAE’s Physics Division in their work on experimental operations, pulsed power systems, high-power neutral beams, plasma diagnostics, data acquisition, analysis, and data science. Dr. Thompson transitioned to private industry ten years ago with his first Senior Scientist position at Tri Alpha Energy working on energy conversion and magnetic sensor technologies. Prior to becoming an industrial physicist, he worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on picosecond resolution electron diffraction, and at both SLAC and Fermilab on dielectric and plasma wakefield accelerators. Outside the lab, Dr. Thompson is heavily involved in the mentorship of young scientists, leadership activities of the American Physical Society, and science advocacy. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in physics from Stanford University, and both a MS and PhD in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, where his graduate work focused on experimental plasma physics.

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Copyright Information
Textual content of The Prosperous Physicist is protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission. Images are in the public domain unless explicitly labeled otherwise.