TC Native Named One of TIME's 100 Most Influential People
By Beth Milligan | April 14, 2023
Traverse City native Andrea Kritcher, a nuclear engineer and physicist who works at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2023.
Kritcher is a graduate of Traverse City Central High School and Northwestern Michigan College, where she studied engineering. She went on to complete her B.S. in nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan and an M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley. She has been with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory since 2012. She is a physicist and the design lead within the Inertial Confinement Fusion team as part of the National Ignition Facility. Kritcher has served as lead researcher on several projects and has published over 35 reviewed scientific papers in journals such as Nature and Science, according to an NMC bio. She was named to NMC's 2022 Outstanding Alumni list.
In the magazine's selection of Kritcher for its 100 Most Influential People of 2023 list, TIME wrote:
"Nuclear fusion could provide limitless clean energy—if scientists can master the tricky physics of smashing hydrogen atoms together. After an August 2021 experiment at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, Calif., just barely failed to generate more energy than was put into it, the facility’s lead laser engineer approached Andrea Kritcher, the principal experimental designer. The engineers had managed to squeeze a bit more energy out of the gigantic lasers that the facility uses to spark the reaction, and it was up to Kritcher to figure out how to use those improvements in service of a dream of generating unlimited, emission-free power."
TIME continued: "After more work, Kritcher’s insights helped bring about the first-ever controlled fusion ignition in December 2022, a holy grail in physics research that had eluded scientists for decades, and another step on the road to fusion power. Her work is one more example in decades of passionate research from hundreds of scientists, engineers, and technicians that made the fusion breakthrough possible."Comment