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"For seminal contributions to plasma theory, including extension of Landau damping to the nonlinear regime and demonstration of the importance of particle trapping; discovery of the plasma-wave echo; and pioneering studies of the confinement, transport, and thermal equilibria of non-neutral plasmas, liquids and crystals. His theoretical work and active guidance of experiments with trapped, non-neutral plasmas provide much of the foundation for this branch of plasma physics."Background:
Dr. O'Neil received his BS degree from California State University at Long Beach in 1962 and his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1965. From 1965 to 1967 he was a member of the research staff at General Atomic, and in 1967 he joined the faculty at UCSD where he is now a Professor of Physics. His early research focused on nonlinear effects in plasmas and included the extension of Landau damping to the nonlinear regime and the theory of plasma wave echoes. More recently, he has studied the novel physics of magnetically trapped nonneutral plasmas, liquids, and crystals.
He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and was a co-recipient of the 1991 APS Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics. He received the 1985 Distinguished Alumni Award of the School of Natural Science at CSULB and the 1996 Distinguished Teaching Award of the UCSD Alumni Association.