Christian Johnson

Photo of Christian Johnson
Associate Physical Scientist
Washington Office

Education

PhD in physics, UC Santa Cruz

Overview

Christian Johnson (he/him) is a physicist interested in applying quantitative techniques to public policy problems. His RAND work has involved building and analyzing machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, and using graph and network theory to improve weapons system acquisition and resiliency. Johnson is also particularly interested in studying our digital democracy - modeling the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories on social media, and identifying ways of ensuring that elections are fair and robust.

Johnson received his Ph.D. in physics from UC Santa Cruz, where his research focused on novel means of using black holes as probes of dark matter physics. He built novel algorithms to search both for microscopic, evaporating primordial black holes, for dark matter annihilation in the environment near supermassive black holes, and for exotic black hole "relics." He attended the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill as an undergraduate, receiving a bachelor's degree in physics along with a minor in biology. In his free time, Johnson is an avid Ultimate (Frisbee) player, with multiple national and world championships.

Commentary

  • Woman looking at phone with COVID-19 news story, photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

    Reining in COVID-19 Disinformation from China, Russia, and Elsewhere

    During the pandemic, the rapid spread of information has been a powerful force for good. But it has also allowed misinformation and conspiracy theories to spread more virulently than ever before. The vast scale of the problem means scalable solutions like machine learning could be needed to rein in the bots, trolls, and conspiracy theories being spread by bad-faith actors.

    Nov 19, 2021 The RAND Blog

Publications