Andrew P. Zwicker (born May 17, 1964) is an American physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and a member of the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 16th Legislative District since January 2016. Zwicker was previously a candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey in 2014. He is a member of the Democratic Party as well as the head of the Science Education Department of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Zwicker was born in New York City. Raised in Englewood, New Jersey, where he graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1982, he went on to achieve his B.A. in physics from Bard College in 1986, and his M.A. and Ph.D., both also in physics, from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. His dissertation was entitled "Soft X-Ray Spectroscopy of Magnetically Confined Fusion Plasmas Using Flat Multilayer Mirrors as Dispersive Elements". Zwicker's post-doctoral work focused on fusion energy research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and internationally.
Andrew resides in the Kingston area of South Brunswick Township with his wife, Barbara Golden, an educator in Hillsborough Township, along with their family, and their rescue pitbull-boxer mix, Rocky. He is an atheist.
He has been the head of the Science Education Department of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory since 2003, where his work is focused on creating innovative opportunities for students of all backgrounds to engage in scientific inquiry and his research is centered on plasmas as an educational tool and new methods of science communication. At Princeton University, Zwicker was previously a part-time lecturer in the Writing Program and a faculty advisor for freshmen and sophomores in Rockefeller College. Zwicker has served on several national committees on education, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and The American Association of Physics Teachers has named him to its list of 75 leading contributors to physics education. He was the Editor of the APS Forum on Physics and Society's newsletter and a past chair of that Forum. Additionally, he is a past member of the APS Committee on Education. In 2006, Zwicker and a collaborator won the University's Art of Science competition for a photograph entitled “Plasma Table” and was for several years afterwards a co-organizer of the event.
Publications and appearances
Zwicker has published in both science and education journals, and has also appeared at numerous lectures and on television.
His publications include:
- Andrew P. Zwicker, Josh Bloom, Robert Albertson, and Sophia Gershman, Suitability of 3D Printed Plastic Parts for Laboratory Use, American Journal of Physics 83, 281 (2015)
- S. Wissel, J. Ross, S. Gershman, and A. Zwicker, The Use of DC Glow Discharges as Undergraduate Educational Tools, American Journal of Physics, Vol.81, Issue 9 (2013)
- Edward Thomas, George Morales. Michael Brown, Troy Carter, Donald Correll, Kenneth Gentle, Andrew Zwicker, Ken Schultz, Earl Scime, Don Steiner, Fusion in the Era of Burning Plasma Studies: Workforce Planning for 2004 to 2014, Journal of Fusion Energy, Vol. 22, No. 2, June 2004.
- A.P. Zwicker, R.C. Isler, W. Tighe, S. Paul, M. Ono, B. LeBlanc, R. Bell, H. Kugel, Impurity Behavior During Ion Bernstein Wave Heating in the PBX-M Tokamak, Nuclear Fusion, 35(2), 215 (1995).
Campaign for United States House of Representatives
Zwicker ran for the Democratic nomination for the United States House of Representatives in the 12th Congressional District. He was seeking election to the seat then held by Rush D. Holt, Jr., who announced on February 18 that he would not seek re-election in the 2014 cycle. He finished fourth of the four candidates in the Democratic primary election held on June 3 (Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman won the primary and general elections), but impressed and gained support from party leaders to lead Zwicker to run for Assembly.
New Jersey Assembly
He and his running mate Maureen Vella ran as Democrats in the historically-Republican dominated 16th Legislative District. Three days after the election, the race for the second seat elected between Zwicker and incumbent Republican Assemblywoman Donna Simon was considered "too close to call." The other incumbent Republican Assemblyman, Jack Ciattarelli, had finished far enough ahead in first place to be ensured a victory. Zwicker had a 29-vote lead over Simon with some provisional ballots remaining to be counted. On November 9, 2015, the final provisional ballots were counted, with Zwicker finishing with a 78-vote lead over Simon. On November 16, Simon conceded the race to Zwicker and Republican officials stated that no recount will be requested. He became the first Democrat ever elected to the district in its 42-year history, albeit in a more Democratic form than it had prior to redistricting thanks to the addition of the liberal university town of Princeton. In the November 2017 general election, with Republican incumbent Jack Ciattarelli leaving the Assembly in his unsuccessful run for the republican gubernatorial nomination, Zwicker (with 34,233 votes; 27.2% of all ballots cast) and his running mate, newcomer Roy Freiman (32,714; 26.0%), defeated Republican challengers Mark Caliguire (29,041; 23.1%) and Donna Simon (29,674; 23.6%) to win both Assembly seats from the district for the Democrats for the first time in district history.
- Science, Innovation and Technology, Chair
- Higher Education
- Regulated Professions
Each of the 40 districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 16th District for the 2018-2019 Legislative Session are:
United States House of Representatives
|Democratic||Bonnie Watson Coleman||15,603||43.0|
|Democratic||Upendra J. Chivukula||7,890||21.8|
|Republican||Donna M. Simon||29,674||23.6||1.3|
|Republican||Jack M. Ciattarelli||16,577||25.4||2.9|
|Republican||Donna M. Simon||16,230||24.91||2.9|