PPPL researchers honored

Jan. 7, 2008 1:31 p.m.

Several researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have received honors and awards recognizing their contributions to the field.

Engineer James Chrzanowski and physicist Nikolai Gorelenkov have been presented with the Kaul Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology Development. The University awards the Kaul Prize to recognize a recent outstanding technical achievement in plasma physics or technology development by a full-time, regular employee of PPPL. It includes a cash award of $5,000 for each individual.

Chrzanowski, a PPPL staffer since 1975, heads the mechanical design branch of PPPL's mechanical engineering division. He was recognized for "developing the technology for winding and epoxy-impregnating the NCSX (National Compact Stellarator Experiment) coils, with their unusual and very complex geometries. The coils meet exceedingly demanding tolerance and electrical integrity requirements." NCSX is a fusion energy experiment being built at PPPL in partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with operations expected to begin in 2011. The machine's modular coils are among the most complex, innovative electromagnets ever designed.

Gorelenkov, a principal research physicist who joined PPPL's staff in 1999, was cited for his groundbreaking research on predictions and observations of certain electromagnetic instabilities in magnetically confined plasmas. His work has special relevance to ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), an international fusion project being planned for construction in France. Gorelenkov's theoretical work relates to instabilities in fusion plasmas due to very energetic particles.

Richard Hawryluk, PPPL deputy director, received the Fusion Power Associates 2007 Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who have shown outstanding leadership qualities in accelerating the development of fusion. Hawryluk, a leader in magnetic fusion energy research who joined the PPPL staff in 1974, was honored for his scientific leadership in past and present fusion projects at the lab, including heading the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor. Fusion Power Associates, a research and educational foundation, also cited Hawryluk for providing input for final design decisions for the ITER project.

Four PPPL physicists received honors from the American Physical Society for their work in plasma physics and fusion energy. Michio Okabayashi was named a recipient of the 2007 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics. Igor Kaganovich, Richard Majeski and Leonid Zakharov were named fellows of the society's Division of Plasma Physics.

Okabayashi, a principal research physicist who joined the PPPL staff in 1968, was one of four winners of the Dawson Award. He was recognized for experiments leading to greater plasma stability and sustained operation of tokamaks, a type of fusion device.

Kaganovich, a research physicist who has been with PPPL since 2000, was recognized for his pioneering contributions to the kinetic theory and kinetic modeling of plasmas. Majeski, a principal research physicist and PPPL staff member since 1992, was honored for a new approach to heating plasma with radio waves and for pioneering work in the use of liquid lithium as a renewable wall for fusion devices. Zakharov, a principal research physicist who joined the PPPL staff in 1992, was recognized for his contributions to the theory and numerical calculations of plasma confinement devices, and for innovative ideas concerning the development of lithium-walled tokamak devices as an approach to an economic power reactor.

PPPL, funded by the Department of Energy and managed by the University, performs advanced research on fusion energy, an environmentally benign and abundant energy source.