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Plasma Physics and Laser Science Offer Distinguished Lecturer Programs

The Divisions of Plasma Physics and Laser Science are each sponsoring a distinguished traveling lecturer program this year, continuing traditions that have been very successful in the past.

The Distinguished Lecturer in Plasma Physics (DLPP) program was inaugurated in 1997 in response to a DPP Executive Committee consensus that awareness of plasma physics as a mainstream physics discipline should be brought to students and faculty in departments that do not have a significant plasma research component. The program is supported by a grant from the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.

The purpose of the Distinguished Traveling Lecturer (DTL) program of DLS is to bring eminent scientists to colleges and universities in order to convey the excitement of laser science to undergraduate and graduate students. Lecturers will visit selected academic institutions for two days, during which time they will give a public lecture open to the entire academic community and meet informally with students and faculty. They may also give guest lectures in classes related to laser science.

DTL committee chair Rainer Grobe of Illinois State University says, "As the Distinguished Traveling Lecturers stay on campus for two full days, this is a unique opportunity for our undergraduate students to meet with top-notch researchers including Nobel laureates. The DTLs are brilliant speakers and the opportunity to discuss informally with them has typically a huge impact on the students."

Don Correll of Livermore, who chaired the DPP Education and Outreach subcommittee in 1998-2002, praises the diverse range of lecture topics in plasma physics, and the commitment of the speakers over the years. "Alfv‚n waves to Z-pinch fusion, complex plasmas to space weather, there is something for every taste," Correll explains. "Often, other physics research areas are more widely known; therefore, DPP needs to especially inform undergraduate students that there are exciting career opportunities for them in plasma research."

R. Paul Drake of the University of Michigan, who was a lecturer in plasma physics in 2002-03, noted enhanced student curiosity about high-energy-density plasma physics once he mentioned that the National Research Council labeled it "the X-games of contemporary science."

Amanda Hubbard of MIT, who participated in the DPP program in 2000-01, particularly made a point of, and enjoyed, meeting students over lunch or coffee. She commented, "It became clear that, to some students and faculty, plasma physics is not considered a 'hot' field. Hopefully showing some of the progress in transport physics helped to change that impression."

Scott Bergeson of Brigham Young University, who recently hosted a lecturer in Laser Science, said "the DTL program is a great program. It really gives students a chance to hobnob with people that otherwise they would not get to meet. It promotes science in general, and is excellent PR for physics."

Distinguished Lecturers in Plasma Physics

The 2004 DLPP list appears on http://www.apsdpp.org/lecturers.html where the DPP publicizes the program with announcements of the speakers, the program's purpose, and instructions for arranging DLPP colloquia. The host physics department should e-mail a speaker directly and schedule the travel. Travel arrangements and reimbursements are currently handled directly by General Atomics (in San Diego) which administers the $20,000/year DOE grant.

DPP's 2004 Distinguished Lecturers in Plasma Physics and their topics are:

Steve Allen (allens@fusion.gat.com), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, "Improving Tokamak Confinement with 'Plasma Surgery' and 'Plasma Floating'"

R. Paul Drake (rpdrake@umich.edu), University of Michigan, "Connecting Laboratory Experiments with Astrophysical Phenomena"

John Goree (john-goree@uiowa.edu), University of Iowa, "Making Plasma Act Like a Crystal"

Raffi Nazikian (rnazikian@pppl.gov), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, "The Scientific Frontiers of Fusion Energy Science"

John D. Sethian (sethian@this.nrl.navy.mil), Naval Research Laboratory, "The Science and Technology of Electron- Beam-Pumped KrF Lasers for Fusion Energy"

John T. Slough (slough@aa.washington.edu), University of Washington, "Development of Compact Fusion Plasmas for Deep-Space Exploration

Distinguished Traveling Lecturers in Laser Science

The DLS will cover the travel expenses and honorarium of the lecturer. The host institution will be responsible only for the local expenses of the lecturer and for advertising the public lecture. Awards to host institutions will be made by the selection committee after consulting with the lecturers. Priority will be given to those institutions that do not have extensive resources for similar programs. Applications should be sent to the DTL committee chair Rainer Grobe (grobe@ilstu.edu) and to the DLS Secretary-Treasurer Dan Elliott (elliottd@ecn.purdue.edu). The deadline for application for visits in Fall 2004 or Spring 2005 is May 31. Detailed information about the program and the application procedure is available at http://physics.sdsu.edu/~anderson/DTL/ .

Lecturers for the 2004-2005 Academic Year:

Robert Byer, Stanford University.

Lee W. Casperson, Portland State University.

Eric Cornell, University of Colorado.

Jim Kafka, Spectra Physics.

Marsha Lester, University of Pennsylvania.

Christopher Monroe, University of Michigan.

Luis A. Orozco, University of Maryland.

Carlos Stroud, University of Rochester.

Ron Walsworth, Harvard University.

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette