APS News

November 2007 (Volume 16, Number 10)

Eight Physicists Honored at November Division Meetings

Five APS prizes and awards will be awarded this month, honoring eight physicists for their work in plasma physics and fluid dynamics. The 2007 James Clerk Maxwell Prize, Dawson Award and Rosenbluth Award will be presented during the annual meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, to be held  November 12-16, 2007, in Orlando, Florida. The 2007 Fluid Dynamics Prize and Andreas Acrivos Award will be presented during the annual meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, to be held November 18-20 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2007 James Clerk Maxwell Prize
John Lindl 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Citation: “For 30 years of continuous plasma physics contributions in high energy density physics and inertial confinement fusion research and scientific management.”

Lindl is currently the Chief Scientist for the NIF Programs Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he works with the major participants in the NNSA stewardship program to develop a national plan for ignition on NIF. Lindl received his PhD in astrophysics from Princeton University in 1972. He joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1972 as a physicist in A-Division’s X-group, concentrating on fluid instabilities and high gain inertial confinement fusion (ICF) targets. Lindl’s work in ICF has spanned a wide range of topics including high gain target designs for lasers and particle beams, hydrodynamic instabilities in ICF, implosion symmetry and hohlraum design, high energy electron production and plasma evolution in hohlraums, and the physics of compression and ignition.

2007 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research
Andrea M. Garofalo
Columbia University

Gerald A. Navratil
Columbia University

Michio Okabayashi
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Edward J. Strait
General Atomics

Citation: “For experiments that demonstrated the stabilization of the resistive wall mode and sustained operation of a tokamak above the conventional free boundary stability limit.”

Garofalo received his Laurea degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy, in 1990. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 1997, with a thesis based on experimental work on the High Beta Tokamak, Extended Pulse (HBT-EP) experiment Since completing his graduate work, Garofalo has been a research scientist for Columbia University, carrying out MHD stability research on the DIII-D Tokamak National Fusion Facility at General Atomics, in San Diego. His research on DIII-D, research on stabilization of the resistive wall mode led to the first-time demonstration of stable confinement of plasma pressure at nearly double the conventional free-boundary stability limit in a tokamak. Since then, he has been pursuing the application of this discovery toward the realization of high-beta, steady-state “advanced tokamak” plasmas.

Navratil received his PhD in plasma physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. In 1977 he joined the faculty of Columbia University and in 1978 was a founding member of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, serving as department chair from 1988 to 1994 and from 1997 to 2000. His research work focuses on MHD equilibrium and stability of magnetically confined plasmas. He directs research on the HBT-EP tokamak facility in the Columbia Plasma Physics Laboratory as well as off-campus collaborations at the DIII-D National Tokamak Facility in San Diego and the NSTX Experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. In 2005 he was appointed the Thomas Alva Edison Professor of Applied Physics and now serves as Interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University.

Okabayashi received his PhD degree in 1968 from the University of Tokyo. He then took a position at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he has been conducting research in the area of MHD macro stability. His primary interest has been plasma stability and device performance improvement. He was a key contributor to the design of the Princeton Divertor Experiment (PDX), the Princeton Beta eXperiment (PBX), and the Princeton Beta eXperiment-Modified, PBX-M. On PBX-M, he discovered the resistive wall mode, an external kink modified by the resistive wall. Since then, his primary research focus has been the active stabilization of the resistive wall mode. He is currently working on active stabilization of the resistive wall mode on the D-IIID device in collaboration with the Columbia and General Atomics groups. 

Strait earned his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979. He joined General Atomics in 1982, where he worked first on the Doublet III tokamak and then its successor, DIII-D. He developed DIII-D’s magnetic diagnostic system, which is used for feedback control of the discharge, equilibrium reconstruction, and stability analysis. His research has focused on the MHD stability of tokamak plasmas, including the stability limits of high beta plasmas, instabilities associated with transport barriers, and the stability of toroidicity-induced Alfven eigenmodes. He is currently working on wall stabilization of high beta plasmas and active control of resistive wall mode instabilities. Strait is manager of the ITER Physics research group in the DIII-D Experimental Science Division.

2007 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award
Erik J. Spence
ETH Xurich, Institute of Geophysics

Citation: “For a dynamo experiment that provided a laboratory demonstration of dipole magnetic field, generated by turbulence, in an MHD flow.”

Spence received his bachelor’s degree in physics from McGill University (Montréal, Canada) in 1998. He did his PhD studies on the Madison Dynamo Experiment, a one-meter-diameter sphere of flowing liquid sodium, in the physics department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was involved with most aspects of commissioning the experiment, including its design, fabrication, construction, operation and data analysis. His dissertation work, done with Professor Cary Forest, demonstrated the presence of a turbulent electromotive force in the experiment. Spence is presently employed by the Institut für Geophysik at ETH Zürich, where he is studying the application of liquid metal experiments to planetary cores.

2007 Fluid Dynamics Prize
Guenter Ahlers
University of California, Santa Barbara

Citation: “For pioneering experimental work on fluid instabilities, low-dimensional chaos, pattern formation, and turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection.”

Ahlers received his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and became a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories. Then he worked on critical phenomena and on superfluid hydrodynamics. In 1970 he began research on Rayleigh-Bénard convection in liquid helium that led to the experimental observation of chaos in a fluid-mechanical system. In 1979 Ahlers became a Professor of Physics at UCSB where he has studied pattern formation in convection and Taylor-vortex flow, and turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection. He and his co-workers have published over 260 papers in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, Physical Review A, B, and E, Physical Review Letters, and elsewhere.

2007 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics
David Saintillan
Courant Institute, New York University

Thesis Title: “Collective dynamics in dispersions of anisotropic and deformable particles.”

Saintillan received his BS from École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France, and he performed his PhD research at Stanford University under the joint supervision of Professors Eric Shaqfeh and Eric Darve. He is now an Associate Research Scientist at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU.

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff

November 2007 (Volume 16, Number 10)

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Articles in this Issue
Seven Apker Finalists Meet in Washington
Physics Fans Get Chance to Win World's Smallest Trophy
2007 Nobel Prize Honors GMR Discovery
Eight Physicists Honored at November Division Meetings
Monica Plisch, Catherine Mader Join APS Education Team
Lidar, Laser Sperm Traps Highlight Annual OSA/DLS Meeting
From Researching the Universe to Running the University: The Physicist as President
National Summit Urges Commitment to Competitiveness
Media Fellows Bring Science to the Masses
2008 Prize and Award Recipients
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Washington Dispatch
International News
Zero-Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
The Back Page