APS News

In Brief

  • The APS Division of Plasma Physics has issued a statement on the scope of plasma physics research, intended to educate those outside the plasma community about the importance of this research to society. Drafted by the division's Public and Interdivisional Affairs Committee, chaired by Herbert L. Berk (University of Texas), the booklet describes the history of plasma research, as well as current areas of research and commercial applications: for example, magnetic confinement and inertial fusion, space and astrophysical plasmas, and accelerator beam technology. Copies of the booklet are available from Herbert Berk, University of Texas, Institute for Fusion Studies, Austin, TX 78712; phone: (512) 471-1364; FAX: (512) 471-6715.

    The National Research Council has also published a more extensive report reaching similar conclusions, entitled Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. It was drafted by the organization's Panel on Opportunities in Plasma Science and Technology, co-chaired by Clifford Surko (University of California, San Diego) and John Ahearne (Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society). Copies are available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Box 285, Washington, DC 20055; 1-800-624-6242.

  • The recipient of the 1995 Doctoral Thesis Award for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics was chosen in April. Brian Lemoff of Stanford University will receive $1,000 for his thesis, entitled "Femtosecond-Pulse-Driven Extreme-Ultraviolet Laser." Chaired by John Miller, the selection committee chose Lemoff from among five finalists who presented their work orally in a special invited paper session at the 1995 APS April Meeting. The award was established in 1992 by the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics to recognize doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in atomic, molecular or optical physics, and to encourage effective written and oral presentation of research results.

  • Thomas J. Ahrens of the California Institute of Technology received the 1995 Shock Compression Science Award during the annual meeting of the APS Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter in August. Established in 1987, the award is intended to recognize contributions to understanding condensed matter and non-linear physics through shock compression. Ahrens' citation reads, "In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the understanding of matter under shock compression and its application to problems in planetary physics."

    A leading figure in the shock compression and geophysics fields for the last 30 years, Ahrens played a pivotal role in the development of shock compression as an indispensable tool in investigating high pressure phase transitions, and melting and recrystallization of planetary materials. Specifically, he has applied the principles of shock compression to problems associated with planetary impact, such as cratering, deflection and fragmentation of near-earth asteroids, and the impact of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter. He conducted the first studies of materials such as cubic boron nitride and diamond, resulting in a new method for producing such materials with unique characteristics and microstructures. Other novel experimental techniques developed by Ahrens include using electron spin resonance and absorption spectroscopy to measure shock temperatures in metals, silicates and oxides.

  • The APS has selected Pratibha Jolly, an associate professor of physics at the University of Delhi in India, as the 1994-1995 Kilambi Ramavataram Fellow. The Ramavataram Fund was established in 1983 through donations from family and friends of Ramavaratam, an Indian-born teacher and researcher in nuclear and molecular physics. The fund's aim is to improve undergraduate physics teaching in India by allowing Indian physics teachers to visit institutions in North America, to observe and study teaching methods. Ramavaratam was a professor of physics at L'Universite Laval in Quebec at the time of his death in 1977. Jolly received her Ph.D. from the University of Delhi in 1981 and her research has focused on physics teaching methodology, particularly the development of curricula employing computers to teach physics. She is spending the fall semester of her fellowship year at Kansas State University and will spend the winter semester at the University of Maryland.

  • ADDENDUM: Due to deadline pressures, the coverage of the March Meeting prizewinners (APS NEWS, March 1995) did not include biographical or additional research information for Jacob Klein, winner of the 1995 High Polymer Physics Prize. Klein received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1977, and spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where he is presently on the faculty of the Department of Materials and Interfaces. Klein's research has focused on the study of long flexible chains at surfaces, interfaces and constrained geometries, particularly on the question of steric forces. In the last few years he has extended these studies to investigate the dynamic, shear and relaxation properties of surface-attached and surface-constrained polymers. In the course of this research, Klein developed experimental methods to probe interfacial profiles at ever higher resolution, as well as a method of nuclear reaction analysis for polymers, to study such phenomena as self- and inter-diffusion, thermodynamics of confined geometries, and the structure of polymeric amphiphiles at surfaces and interfaces.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin