Christina Back

Christina Back

Vice President
Nuclear Technologies and Materials, Energy Group
General Atomics  


Dr. Christina Back is Vice President of Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics.  She is responsible for the nuclear fission programs, which focus on development of advanced nuclear reactors for electric power, production of isotopes for medical uses, and fabrication of Accident Tolerant Fuel rods for safer nuclear reactors.

She earned her B.S. in physics from Yale University, and her Ph.D. in plasma physics from the University of Florida. As an experimental physicist, she spent two years at the Ecole Polytechnique LULI laser facility in France, and over fifteen years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory performing research on the Nova, Omega, and NIF high-powered lasers in the Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Energy Density Science programs. Moving to General Atomics, Dr. Back became the High Energy Density Science Program Leader in the Inertial Fusion Technologies division, developing specialized materials and characterization techniques. Pursuit of new engineered materials led to work in fission on the Energy Multiplier Module, EM2, a high temperature gas-cooled rector.

Dr. Back is an internationallly recognized in fission and fusion research with over 25 years of experience in private industry and U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories. She has over 100 publications in areas such as radiative heating, opacity, x-ray conversion efficiency, spectroscopy, hohlraum physics, charged-particle diagnostics, and materials synthesis. She regularly serves on committees for the National Academy of Sciences, National Nuclear Security Administration, and the DOE, and is frequently invited to provide expertise for U.S. Congressional Committees and White House Science and Technology initiatives.

For her contributions, Dr. Back was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has received numerous awards, including DOE Technical Excellence and Defense Nuclear Sciences Awards for radiation transport. In 2013, she was named Woman of the Year in Business by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.