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Uri Shumlak

Faculty Photo

Aeronautics & Astronautics

Associate Department Chair for Research
Aeronautics & Astronautics

Associate Chair for Academics


Professor Shumlak completed his undergraduate work at Texas A & M University and then obtained his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. After finishing his graduate degree, he was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Air Force Phillips Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he wrote MACH3, a 3-D, time-dependent magnetofluid code for non-ideal plasmas in complex geometries. Professor Shumlak joined the University of Washington after leaving the Phillips Lab, though he still maintains close ties to the Air Force Research Lab and often performs research in support of their applications. He is actively involved in research and has been invited to speak at numerous international conferences. He has won numerous awards for his teaching, research, and mentoring. Professor Shumlak is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has also co-founded Zap Energy - a spin-out company from the UW to develop commercial fusion applications.

Professor Shumlak's research areas are plasma physics, theoretical and computational plasma modeling, innovative magnetic plasma confinement for fusion energy, and electric propulsion. His work includes theoretical and experimental investigation of the stabilizing effect of sheared flows in magnetically confined plasmas. A sheared-flow-stabilized Z pinch would have immediate applications as a near-term fusion thruster for space exploration and a compact fusion energy source. The concept of flow stabilization would also have applications to other magnetic confinement devices and astrophysical plasmas. The flow Z-pinch concept has also been developed into an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light source, which is applicable for next generation lithography. Professor Shumlak develops advanced plasma modeling algorithms that use an approximate-Riemann solver and high-order finite element methods for studying the time evolution of plasma dynamics. He also researches electric propulsion devices. He recently developed a novel method to produce high current ion sources based on using ultrasonic actuators to excite unstable waves in a liquid and applying an electric field to extract monodisperse, charged droplets. The source has applications to nanoparticle spraying, composite coating, and electric propulsion.


  • PhD, University of California at Berkeley
  • BS, Texas A&M University

Select publications

  1. U. Shumlak. Z-Pinch Fusion. Journal of Applied Physics 127, 200901 (2020) [Featured Article, Invited Perspectives Article]
  2. E.L. Claveau, U. Shumlak, B.A. Nelson, E.G. Forbes, A.D. Stepanov, T.R. Weber, Y. Zhang, and H.S. McLean. Plasma Exhaust in a Sheared-Flow-Stabilized Z Pinch. Physics of Plasmas 27, 092510 (2020)
  3. Y. Zhang, U. Shumlak, B.A. Nelson, R.P. Golingo, T.R. Weber, A.D. Stepanov, E.L. Claveau, E.G. Forbes, Z.T. Draper, J.M. Mitrani, H.S. McLean, K.K. Tummel, D.P. Higginson, and C.M. Cooper. Sustained neutron production from a sheared-flow stabilized Z-pinch. Physical Review Letters 122, 135001 (2019) [Featured Article]
  4. K.K. Tummel, D.P. Higginson, A.J. Link, A.E.W. Schmidt, D.T. Offermann, D.R. Welch, R.E. Clark, U. Shumlak, B.A. Nelson, R.P. Golingo, and H.S. McLean. Kinetic simulations of sheared flow stabilization in high-temperature Z-pinch plasmas. Physics of Plasmas 26, 062506 (2019) [Invited Article]
  5. A. Ho, I.A.M. Datta, and U. Shumlak. Physics-Based-Adaptive Plasma Model for High-Fidelity Numerical Simulations. Frontiers in Physics 6, 105 (2018)
  6. G.V. Vogman, U. Shumlak, and P. Colella. Conservative fourth-order finite-volume Vlasov-Poisson solver for axisymmetric plasmas in cylindrical (r, vr, vtheta) phase space coordinates. Journal of Computational Physics 373, 877 (2018)
  7. U. Shumlak, B.A. Nelson, E.L. Claveau, E.G. Forbes, R.P. Golingo, M.C. Hughes, R.J. Oberto, M.P. Ross, and T.R. Weber. Increasing plasma parameters using sheared flow stabilization of a Z-pinch. Physics of Plasmas 24, 055702 (2017) [Invited Article]
  8. M.P. Ross and U. Shumlak. Digital holographic interferometry employing Fresnel transform reconstruction for the study of flow shear stabilized Z-pinch plasmas. Review of Scientific Instruments 87, 103502 (2016)
  9. E.M. Sousa and U. Shumlak. A blended continuous – discontinuous finite element method for solving the multi-fluid plasma model. Journal of Computational Physics 326, 56 (2016)
  10. S.T. Miller and U. Shumlak. A multi-species 13-moment model for moderately collisional plasmas. Physics of Plasmas 23, 082303 (2016)
  11. E.M. Sousa, G. Lin, and U. Shumlak. Uncertainty quantification of the GEM challenge magnetic reconnection problem using the multilevel Monte Carlo method. International Journal for Uncertainty Quantification 5, 327 (2015)
  12. S.D. Knecht, R.P. Golingo, B.A. Nelson, and U. Shumlak. Calculation of the equilibrium evolution of the ZaP Flow Z-Pinch using a four-chord interferometer. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 43, 2469 (2015)
  13. G.V. Vogman, P. Colella, and U. Shumlak. Dory-Guest-Harris instability as a benchmark for continuum kinetic Vlasov-Poisson simulations of magnetized plasmas. Journal of Computational Physics 277, 101 (2014)
  14. S.D. Knecht, W. Lowrie, and U. Shumlak. Effects of a conducting wall on Z-pinch stability. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 42, 1531 (2014)
  15. E. Kansa, U. Shumlak, and S. Tsynkov. Discrete Calderon's Projections on Parallelepipeds and their Application to Computing Exterior Magnetic Fields for FRC Plasmas. Journal of Computational Physics 234, 172 (2013)
  16. U. Shumlak, J. Chadney, R.P. Golingo, D.J. Den Hartog, M.C. Hughes, S.D. Knecht, W. Lowrie, V.S. Lukin, B.A. Nelson, R.J. Oberto, J.L. Rohrbach, M.P. Ross, and G.V. Vogman. The Sheared-Flow Stabilized Z-Pinch. Fusion Science and Technology 61, 119 (2012)
  17. E.T. Meier and U. Shumlak. A general nonlinear fluid model for reacting plasma-neutral mixtures. Physics of Plasmas 19, 072508 (2012)
  18. E.T. Meier, A.H. Glasser, V.S. Lukin, and U. Shumlak. Modeling open boundaries in dissipative MHD simulation. Journal of Computational Physics 231, 2963 (2012)
  19. U. Shumlak, R. Lilly, N. Reddell, E. Sousa, and B. Srinivasan. Advanced physics calculations using a multi-fluid plasma model. Computer Physics Communications 182, 1767 (2011)
  20. B. Srinivasan and U. Shumlak. Analytical and computational study of the ideal full two-fluid plasma model and asymptotic approximations for Hall-MHD. Physics of Plasmas 18, 092113 (2011)
  21. W. Lowrie, V.S. Lukin, and U. Shumlak. A priori mesh quality metric error analysis applied to a high-order finite element method. Journal of Computational Physics 230, 5564 (2011)

Honors & awards

  • Erna and Jakob Michael Visiting Professorship, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2018
  • Faculty Scholar, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2018
  • Graduate Educator of the Year (Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA), 2016
  • Faculty Innovator Award (College of Engineering, University of Washington), 2011
  • Abe Zarem National Graduate Educator Award (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), 2003
  • Professor of the Year (Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington), 2002
  • Certificate of Recognition by the University of Washington’s Minority Science & Engineering ALVA Program (Alliances for Learning and Vision for Underrepresented Americans), 2000
  • Professor of the Year (Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington), 1999
  • National Research Council Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, 1992