Photo by Bryce Vickmark

Photo by Bryce Vickmark

Bob Mumgaard

As the CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) Bob leads the strategic vision for the company. He also serves as a key member of the technical team, leading the SPARC design process and determining how it interfaces with the business strategy. Bob performed his PhD work at MIT on Alcator C-Mod developing techniques to measure the magnetic field inside tokamak plasmas utilizing precise polarization techniques, robotics, and novel optical instruments. During this time, he contributed to the design of several small superconducting tokamaks for a variety of physics missions using high temperature superconductors (HTS). As a fellow, Bob studied the history, organization, and execution of large-scale projects in science and technology in disciplines including accelerators, telescopes, spacecraft, nuclear energy, and weapons systems. A focus of Bob’s work has been on what programmatic, technological, size, and financial pressures contribute to success or failure. This research informs the belief in the power of small, focused, diverse, entrepreneurial teams to accomplish technology breakthroughs given the right conditions. His most recent MIT-funded fellowship focused on how entrepreneurship, risk-retirement strategies, and partnerships could increase the speed of fusion from laboratory to market. Bob organized and led the SPARC Underground team, identifying strategies to utilize private finance and traditional academic resources to speed the path to fusion energy resulting in a partnership model with MIT to bridge the valley of death. He has led a culture change within the PSFC to adopt an outward-looking organization, focused on entrepreneurship and forming connections to the Boston and MIT start-up ecosystems.

Keynotes