Dr. Kris Ford on Plasma Research and Nuclear Engineering

Dr. Kris Ford sat down to discuss plasma research, higher education, and motivation. At the time of this interview, Dr. Ford was a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering, specifically plasma research. He discusses the intricacies of his current work, including the ultra high precision fabrication capabilities and the statistical uncertainties related to the methods used. Further, we explore the motivations and challenges of remaining mentally healthy when engaged in high demand work, and some approaches to overcome the challenges associated with such a situation.


  1. 4-START:Fourth State Applications Research Group (Research group Mr. Ford is currently part of): http://www4.ncsu.edu/~scshanno/index.html
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of succes by Dr. Carol S. Dweck: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B000FCKPHG&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_QcAQAb3FR107Y
  3. Vasimr plasma engine: http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/conferences/humans-to-mars/vasimr-plasma-engine-earth-mars-39-days/
    Note: Photo Credit: Kris Ford. An oxygen plasma is created, which should have a cylindrical shape due to the powering coil shape. Ionization occurs in the power deposition region. In this case, an ‘orb’ forms however, a phenomenon currently unexplained.