Christian Johnson

Photo of Christian Johnson
Associate Physical Scientist
Off Site Office


PhD in physics, UC Santa Cruz


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.