Peter Beiersdorfer received his B. S. and M. S. degrees in Physics from Auburn University, and his M. A. and Ph. D. degrees in Astrophysical Sciences/Plasma Physics from Princeton University. At Auburn he was the recipient of several awards, including the Comer Medal. At Princeton he was a Westinghouse Fellow and Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellow, and he received a Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Honorific Fellowship. For his thesis on “High-Resolution Studies of the X-Ray Transitions in Highly Charged Neonlike Ions on the PLT Tokamak” he received the Doctoral Thesis Prize of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. He joined the High Temperature Physics Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1988, where his work centered on the measurement and interpretation of spectra from highly charged ions in high-temperature laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. He served in two group leader positions in the Physics Division as well as the project leader of the electron beam ion trap experiment. He was appointed a Senior Scientist and a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff. He holds a research scientist position at the Space Science Laboratory of the University of California Berkeley since 2004.
He is the author or co-author of over 550 scientific publications and editor of several conference proceedings, including the proceedings of the 10th International Colloquium on Atomic Spectra and Oscillator Strength in Laboratory and Astrophysical Spectra, which he organized and held in Berkeley in 2010. He is a visiting scientist at various institutions nationally and internationally and has supervised ten Ph. D. students working on the electron beam ion trap facility at Livermore. He is an Affiliate Professor at Auburn University, Auburn, AL, and served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno until 2016. From 2014 to 2017, he served in the Chair Line of the American Physical Society’s Far West Section, including as Chair of the section in 2016.Moreover, he is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Physics.
His measurement of the two-loop quantum electrodynamical contributions to the energy levels in lithiumlike uranium (U89+) was chosen as a one of the Physics Highlights of the American Institute of Physics in 2005. He has been awarded the Outstanding Referee Award of the American Physical Society in 2008. In 2016 he was awarded the Laboratory Astrophysics Prize by the American Astronomical Society’s Laboratory Astrophysics Division.