MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The primary objective of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) is to provide research and educational opportunities to develop a basic understanding of plasma behavior, and to exploit that knowledge by developing useful applications. The central focus of the activities at the PSFC has been to develop a scientific and engineering base for the development of fusion power. Nevertheless, nonfusion applications involving plasmas at the PSFC are numerous and diverse. A recent example is the significant growth of programs in hot and cold plasma processing of waste materials. To give recognition to the wide range of plasma research, and the new emphasis at DOE on plasma and fusion science, as of January 1, 1997, we changed the Center's name to "Plasma Science and Fusion Center."

The Plasma Fusion Center is recognized as the leading university laboratory in developing the scientific and engineering aspects of magnetic confinement fusion and related plasma science and technology. Its research programs continue to produce significant results on several fronts: (a) experimental confinement research on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak (investigations of the stability, heating, and transport properties of compact high magnetic field, diverted plasmas), (b) the basic physics of plasmas (plasma theory, theoretical support of ITER and IGNITOR, new confinement concepts, nonneutral plasmas, coherent EM wave generation, development of high-temperature plasma diagnostics, basic laboratory and ionospheric plasma physics experiments, and novel diagnostic of inertial fusion experiments), (c) a broad program of fusion technology and engineering development that addresses problems in several areas (e.g., magnetic systems, superconducting materials, fusion environmental and safety studies, advanced millimeter-wave sources, system studies of fusion reactors, including operational and technological requirements), and (d) a significant activity of environmental waste treatment using plasmas.

The Plasma Fusion Center R&D programs are supported principally by the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. There are approximately 277 personnel associated with PSFC research activities. These include: 18 faculty and senior academic staff, 40 graduate students and 30 undergraduate students, with participating faculty and students from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, and Physics; 80 research scientists and engineers and 40 visiting scientists; 36 technical support personnel; and 27 administrative and support staff.

Our Center enjoyed considerable scientific success and a modest increase in funding this year. All programs were funded at a stable level this year, with a modest decline in engineering activities, and a modest increase in fusion science research. Our staff has been aggressive in submitting new research proposals to a number of new initiatives launched by DOE and NSF.


The Alcator Division, led by Prof. Ian Hutchinson, carries out experimental research on Alcator C-Mod, a compact, high-performance, high magnetic field divertor tokamak devoted to investigating the physics of high temperature magnetically confined fusion grade plasmas. The total staff of the Alcator Project is about 95, including 16 full-time research physicists, 2 faculty members and 20 graduate students.

Alcator C-Mod is now established as one of the two major U.S. tokamak facilities, along with DIII-D at General Atomics, San Diego. It is also recognized as one of the five key divertor tokamaks in the world. Alcator C-Mod is the only diverted high-field compact experiment in operation, and therefore it plays a unique role in providing critical tests of confinement scaling and theory at high power density. Alcator C-Mod is thus extremely favorably placed to contribute vital information to fusion science research, and to do so in a highly cost effective way because of its compact approach. Because of its high power density, C-Mod will contribute uniquely to ways of achieving ignition at low cost, and of exploring advanced tokamak physics regimes. Its vertical plate divertor geometry has been adopted as the reference design for ITER, and its shape is essentially the same as that envisioned for ITER. It also is presently unique in having high-Z metallic plasma facing components. Such components are planned for ITER.

Alcator's role as one of the two national centers for tokamak research has begun to develop rapidly with the arrival of substantial collaborative contingents from the University of Texas and from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Some challenges in adjusting to this somewhat broader national role are to be expected. Funding at MIT grew to $11.5M in FY97 and is expected to rise again in FY98 but still not back to the FY95 level of about $16M. The operation of the facility is therefore still highly constrained despite the assistance of collaborators. This was particularly noticeable during the past year when operations were curtailed by funding and the project concentrated on completing maintenance and inspection together with preparations for this year's campaign and analysis of data.

Several important discoveries were made. It was found that the plasma naturally enters an operational regime called Enhanced D-alpha, in which the energy confinement is high but the edge particle confinement is modest. This is ideal for a reactor or next-step experiments in which we wish to keep the energy in but allow impurities or helium ash to escape from the plasma. Detailed physics studies to identify the processes involved in this phenomenon are just beginning.

The presence of strong collisional recombination of the plasma in the tokamak divertor was established experimentally for the first time through spectroscopic measurements on C-Mod. This mechanism is now considered an important part of "divertor detachment", the process whereby plasma heat and particle flux to the solid surfaces of the divertor chamber is greatly reduced. Future fusion reactors need to use such processes to spread the escaping heat load more uniformly across the plasma-facing components. Our ongoing research in divertor physics will continue to study detachment, and various new edge diagnostic measurements are coming into operation that will help us to understand it. In addition we are concentrating on improving our understanding of plasma and neutral flow in the divertor, expecting that such physics knowledge will enable improved divertor designs to be developed.

Alcator data and analysis has been critical to resolving some important design questions for ITER. Our data dominates the "disruptions" database collected by ITER. Analysis of this database has enabled ITER to develop a credible mechanical design of its structures to withstand disruptions and their asymmetries (first established by Alcator experiments). C-Mod's transport data also is very important to reducing the uncertainties in the energy confinement predictions for ITER. Such information is a key element in predicting whether ITER will ignite and how much auxiliary heating is needed. Our compact size and high magnetic field place C-Mod in a unique but important area of the multidimensional space within which tokamaks operate, and our data has reduced by about a factor of 2 the statistical uncertainty in the extrapolation to ITER from current experiments.

In the coming year, the Alcator group will be submitting the proposal to DOE for the next five years of our research. This process will help to cement our position as a key fusion research facility. We anticipate that the strategic vision of our program will emphasize the opportunities of the high-field compact tokamak approach, maintaining our unique contributions in transport and divertor physics, and moving forward both to higher performance plasmas and to so-called "advanced tokamak'' studies in which enhancements are obtained and understood by controlling the internal profile of current, pressure, and velocity of the plasma.

Student involvement in the project remains strong. Several doctoral projects were recently completed with students moving to research positions both in fusion and beyond. We anticipate maintaining the current student numbers in the foreseeable future since Alcator is the foremost university-based plasma fusion experiment and the education of future generations of plasma physicists and engineers is so important.


Headed by Prof. Miklos Porkolab, this Division seeks to develop a theoretical and experimental understanding of plasma physics and fusion science. This Division is also a base for developing new confinement concepts, exploring inertial fusion energy and space plasma physics. Owing to the reorientation of the fusion program to a more science based activity, the funding of the activities of this Division remained relatively stable.


Dr. Dieter Sigmar and co-workers focus local resources on analytic and numerical investigations of edge plasmas while continuing to lead the national Divertor Task Force. Observations from the Alcator C-Mod tokamak and other devices are used to develop an improved understanding of basic plasma physics phenomena as well as advance the Alcator physics program. The goal of this effort is to find ways to divert the severe heat flux impinging on the first wall while simultaneously maintaining good plasma purity in present and planned experimental fusion devices.

The only neutral atom-plasma fluid code capable of modeling current tokamaks and fusion reactor relevant high density divertor regimes was developed by this group and is currently being used to explore changes in the C-Mod divertor geometry aimed at improving control of neutral atoms. This code was recently extended to treat enhanced recombination of plasma into neutrals occurring in the presence of molecular hydrogen, and experimental verification by collaborators quickly followed. The group's studies have also proven that simple size scaling arguments based on binary collisions are inappropriate in the divertor and that detailed scaling information obtained from numerical simulations is more favorable. The group continues to develop (i) a hybrid Monte Carlo - Navier Stokes neutral gas code retaining the nonlinear effects of neutral-neutral collisions and (ii) kinetic Fokker-Planck and particle-in-cell codes that model features of charged particle distribution functions not described by fluid codes.

Dr. Jay Kesner and collaborators from Columbia University (Prof. Mike Maul) have been exploring the possibility of the dipole magnetic field geometry as a potential attractive magnetic confinement concept for fusion. It was suggested in 1987 by Hasegawa that a dipole might provide a considerably simpler confinement scheme for fusing plasmas. Dipole confinement is observed in nature (in the earth's and the jovian magnetospheres) and in fact this suggestion was based on an increasing understanding of magnetospheric confinement. Satellite measurements have shown that in magnetospheric plasmas the ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic field pressure can exceed unity and these plasmas appear to be relatively quiescent. Conceptually this concept offers several potential improvements vis-à-vis a tokamak as a fusion reactor. It is inherently steady state and free of disruptions. The concept presents a challenge to engineering, primarily the shielding of the superconducting ring from the fusion generated heat and radiation.

We have submitted a joint proposal with Columbia University (Prof. Michael Mauel) to the DOE-OFES to construct a concept exploration experiment in the Nabisco Laboratory at MIT. The project envisioned would extend over a 5 year period and cost approximately $5 M, with approximately $3M coming to MIT for construction and operations and the $2M research budget equally shared between MIT and Columbia University. This project will be oriented towards basic plasma physics and it is expected to include strong student involvement.

We have also begun theoretical studies of dipole confinement including studies of the stability of low frequency fluctuations and magnetohydrodynamic stability. Additionally we (Drs. Leslie Bromberg, Jay Kesner) have submitted a proposal to DOE-OFES to perform a system study of a levitated dipole based fusion reactor. Such a reactor would burn "advanced" fuels (such as D3He) and therefore would be more environmentally benign.

Other theoretical research includes: (1) transport scaling in an RFP (Prof. Jeffrey Freidberg and Antonio Bruno, Italy): A simple model has been proposed to explain the empirical energy confinement time observed in Reversed Field Pinch (RFP) experiments; (2) continued exploration of the Advanced Tokamak (Drs. Paul Bonoli and Jesus Ramos, Prof. M. Porkolab), with reversed shear and high bootstrap current fraction using off-axis current drive with either lower-hybrid waves or fast-wave/Bernstein wave mode-conversion. Detailed code prediction have been obtained and published recently, and these estimates are being incorporated in the latest C-Mod 5-year proposal cycle.

In a new theoretical initiative, we have set up a collaboration with Prof. Anders Bondeson of the Chalmers University, Sweden who has developed the highly sophisticated resistive MHD code, MARS. This State of the art numerical code has been adapted to analyze the MHD stability of Alcator C-Mod discharges (Dr. Ramos). Comprehensive experimental data are used to generate a best fit MHD equilibrium model of the Alcator C-Mod plasma. This is linked to linear stability codes to investigate ideal and resistive MHD instabilities that may explain plasma fluctuations and disruptions. Work during the past year has concentrated on a set of significant Alcator c-mod shots from the spring of 1996 campaign, with internally reversed magnetic shear profile. The code has explained the experimentally observed MHD fluctuations in the Reversed Shear mode of operation of C-Mod.

This effort is spear-headed by Prof. Jeffrey Freidberg. (1) A theory has been derived which describes a robust mechanism for the observed ramp rate limitation in high field superconducting magnets (with Drs. Matthew Ferri and Ali Shajii). It explains why such magnets quench significantly below their predicted DC current limit during rapid ramping of the current. (2) A continuum theory has been formulated and analyzed with the goal of calculating AC losses in multistrand superconducting cables used for fusion magnets, a critical problem during current ramping (with Judy Chen and James McCarrick). (3) A theory has been derived to describe the thermal hydraulic behavior of superconducting magnets with a central cooling channel. It is shown that two channel (or multi-channel) systems can be reduced to an equivalent single fluid model whose properties include anomalously large (i.e. a factor of 100) thermal and particle diffusion coefficients (with Dr. Shajii). (4) In a new initiative (Magnetic Field Mapping, with Drs. A. Shajii and J. Jayakumar) a novel procedure has been suggested for mapping the magnetic fields in large detectors used in high energy physics detectors. The method is fast, accurate and economical with respect to existing techniques. It makes use of analogous surface mapping procedures used widely in the magnetic fusion community. The procedure is being currently implemented on the PHENIX detector at Brookhaven Laboratory.

The Plasma Theory Group under the direction of Prof. Abraham Bers and Dr. Abhay K. Ram have proposed new means for plasma heating and current drive in the National Spherical Tokamak Experiment (NSTX), which is currently being designed by a national team as the next fusion research facility at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. NSTX, an alternative concept to the tokamak, is characterized by stable operation at high-beta's (plasma pressure/magnetic pressure) which have a complex magnetic field structure at high plasma densities. This requires new means for RF heating and driving current in such plasmas. The new proposed RF heating is for the electron-cyclotron range of frequencies and is based upon analytical work on a new wave conversion process that this group pioneered.


The Ionospheric Plasma Research Group (Dr. Min-Chang Lee and students) has been conducting laboratory experiments on the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF) at PSFC and ionospheric plasma heating experiments at the Arecibo Observatory. These experiments, aimed at investigating wave-plasma interactions and plasma turbulence, can effectively cross-check the results obtained in tenuous space plasmas and dense laboratory plasmas. A recent paper, published in the Geophysical Research Letters (Vol. 24, No. 2, pp 115-118, 1997) by Lee et al., reports the VTF laboratory reproduction of Arecibo results, confirming a theory of nonlinear wave scattering developed by Dr. Min-Chang Lee and coworkers. The key experimental results were published on the issue cover. New proposals have been submitted to NSF/DOE/DOD for laboratory simulation and radar experiments on space plasma phenomena, advancing the space weather research. A series of plasma heating campaigns, using the upgraded NSF radio facilities and the PSFC student-built antennas and receivers, will be conducted in July, October, and November, 1997 and February, 1998 at Arecibo, Puerto Rico and Trelew, Argentina.

Exciting progress has occurred in high-energy-density plasmas and in inertial confinement fusion. MIT is playing a prominent role in the design of novel experiments for the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a 1.2 billion dollar facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The goal of the NIF is to produce 10 times more fusion energy than the input laser energy used to compress the fusion capsule. MIT, with colleagues at LLNL and University of Rochester, developed and recently published in Physical Review Letters a novel means to measure the implosion symmetry and core conditions for NIF implosions. Densities of 1000 g per cubic cm and pressures greater than 300 billion atmospheres are anticipated. In comparison, solar core density and pressure is 150 g per cubic cm and 240 billion atmospheres, respectively. Or, at earth center, the pressure is a paltry 3.6 million atmospheres.

After 5 years of design, testing, and construction, MIT's large spectrometer is to be interfaced to the Omega laser fusion experiment at the University of Rochester. By measuring an array of nuclear products--alphas, tritons, deuterons, we can infer the core conditions--pressure, density, temperature--of the implosion, as well as the symmetry of the implosion, i.e., how spherically it converges when it implodes to a radius about 10 times smaller than before the lasers compress the fusion capsule. Utilizing compact spectrometers--small versions of the large one--we have already been obtaining important data on acceleration mechanisms, never seen before, that are occurring within the fusing capsule. The interfacing of the MIT's large spectrometer is an exciting time for physicists throughout the fusion program since it has the unique capability of probing, for the first time, stellar-like conditions created in inertial fusion.

Owing to the successful results, this collaborative effort between General Atomics and MIT (Prof. Miklos Porkolab, Dr. Stephano Coda and now Dr. Peter O'Shea) has enjoyed a new period of 3-year funding cycle. Dr. Coda, who completed his Ph.D. thesis last winter and returned to Europe (Lausanne, home for the Swiss National Fusion Laboratory), has been replaced by Dr. O'Shea, a recent MIT Physics Department graduate from Alcator C-Mod Through careful studies over the course of several years, the properties of edge turbulence have been mapped out by Dr. Coda. The novel observation of the existence of radially propagating modes has been found to be in agreement with recent analytical and numerical code predictions on the global structure of a class of plasma instabilities (ITG modes) that are considered to be a dominant component of transport enhancing turbulence. For his pioneering studies, Dr. Coda won the 1997 APS-Division of Plasma Physics Outstanding Thesis Award. Dr. O'Shea is upgrading the experimental installation to comply with new safety regulations, and will continue the experiments in the next fiscal year.

A joint MIT-Princeton University Program (Profs. M. Porkolab and S. Suckewer), this experiment is aimed to explore the possibility of using low temperature tokamak plasmas as a source of radiation near 13 nm for lithography applications. In the past year, scoping experiments were carried out to test two new filters in front of the multilayer mirror and bolometer setup to determine the increase in the emitted radiation due to injection of high Z gases, such as Ar, Kr, Se and carbon from graphite rods. The results are being analyzed now. Progress in this experiment has been slow due to the busy schedule of the Principal Investigators and the unavailability of permanent staff and funding.


The Waves and Beams Division, headed by Dr. Richard Temkin, conducts research on novel sources of electromagnetic radiation and on the generation and acceleration of particle beams.

The gyrotron is a novel source of microwave, millimeter wave and submillimeter wave radiation. It uses a helical electron beam in a high magnetic field to generate radiation by stimulated emission at the electron cyclotron frequency. Gyrotrons are under development for electron cyclotron heating (ECH) of present day and future plasmas as well as for high frequency radar. These applications require tubes operating at frequencies in the range 100-300 GHz at steady-state power levels approaching 1 MW. The gyrotron research group is led by Dr. Kenneth Kreischer. In 1997, research has concentrated on investigating the physics issues, including mode competition and beam quality, which affect the efficiency of operation of high power, high frequency gyrotrons. We have completed the first phase of a program of research to demonstrate a high power, high frequency gyrotron suitable for application to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). A prototype experiment at M. I. T. has been built and has demonstrated a power level of 1.5 MW power level at a frequency of 170 GHz with an efficiency of over 35%. A novel mode converter for this gyrotron has been built and tested. Future work will concentrate on increasing the efficiency of the gyrotron to close to 70% using depressed collectors. A program of research is also underway to demonstrate a 140 GHz coaxial cavity gyrotron. The coaxial cavity gyrotron may be capable of higher power than conventional cavity gyrotrons, up to 3 MW. A new idea for a gyrotron microwave window, a dome shaped window, is also under investigation. This research is primarily sponsored by MIT Lincoln Lab through their Advanced Concepts Committee (ACC) internal funding program. In 1997, a new research program was initiated to develop a 250 GHz gyrotron for use in electron spin resonance and nuclear magnetic resonance studies. This research, funded by NIH in collaboration with Prof. R. Griffin of the Magnet Lab, is a pioneering effort in high frequency spin resonance studies. In the future, we hope to initiate a program of gyrotron amplifier research.

The High Gradient Accelerator Group is conducting research on a novel, 17 GHz, microwave driven, photocathode electron injector. This device, sometimes called an RF gun, can generate a 2 ps beam of 1-2 MeV, 50-500 A electrons at high repetition rate. A 26 MW, 17 GHz klystron power source drives the electron gun. This electron beam can be directly applied to microwave generation experiments or it can be used as an injector into a 17 GHz, high gradient accelerator. This research supports the program to build new electron accelerators which can reach the TeV range of energies.

In 1997, initial operation of the RF gun was achieved. This is the first photocathode electron gun to operate at a frequency above 2.856 GHz. Such electron guns have the potential for achieving record high values of electron beam quality. Conditioning of the cavity allowed operation of the gun at surface fields of up to 250 MV/m before dark current and breakdown were observed. Using 10-20 uJ, picosecond pulses from a Ti:sapphire laser tripled to 267 nm, electron bunches of 0.1 nC were obtained with energies exceeding 1 MeV. In the next phase of this research, we will install and test a high gradient accelerator to achieve beam energies of about 30 MeV. This research should establish 17 GHz as a feasible frequency for future TeV electron colliders.


The Intense Beam Theoretical Research Group, led by Dr. Chiping Chen, has contributed very significantly to our understanding of coherent radiation generation and particle acceleration. Topics covered include coherent radiation sources (CARM, FEL, gyrotron, relativistic klystron, relativistic TWT), intense beam transport and beam halo formation, beam-beam interactions, cyclotron resonance accelerators, two-beam accelerators, photocathode design, and other topics. Research explores self-field-induced nonlinear resonant and chaotic phenomena in intense charged particle beams. This research supports the U. S. program to construct advanced accelerators for such applications as nuclear waste treatment, heavy ion fusion and free electron lasers.


The mission of the Plasma Technology Division (led by Drs. Daniel Cohn and Paul Woskov) is to develop new plasma technology applications with particular emphasis on environmental applications; to develop new fusion diagnostics; and to develop new fusion system concepts.

The Division is developing microwave plasma spectrometer systems for continuous monitoring of metals emissions from plasma furnaces, incinerators and other technologies for treatment of waste at DOE sites. The microwave plasma spectrometer approach has unique capability for meeting DOE needs of real time situ measurements. The Division is also developing plasma technology for conversion of hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen rich gas. It is investigating the use of plasma produced hydrogen-rich gas for pollution reduction in both stationary power and vehicular applications. Application to pollution reduction from internal combustion engines could have an important impact on air quality. In addition, plasma conversion of difficult to use biofuels into readily usable clean combustion fuels is being investigated.

During the last year substantial progress has been made in developing a real time calibration of the microwave plasma continuous emissions monitoring. An advanced, high-resolution multiband spectrometer system has also been developed to facilitate simultaneous multimetals measurements. In the area of plasma generation of hydrogen rich gas, a major improvement in conversion efficiency and in electrical power requirement has been achieved. In addition, initial experimental studies of plasma conversion of biofuels have produced promising results.

During the next year, field testing of the microwave plasma continuous emissions monitor is planned. In the area of plasma generation of hydrogen-rich gas, a new program is underway to investigate vehicular applications. This program will be funded by the DOE Office of Transportation Technologies and will be carried out in collaboration with Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Paul Woskov has been notified that he will receive a 1997 R&D 100 award. The Award will given for development of a refractory corrosion monitor. The monitor will provide remote real time measurements of refractory corrosion, a key issue in furnaces for waste treatment and other applications. Paul Woskov, Dan Cohn and other members of the Plasma Technology Division have also received R&D 100 Awards in 1994 and 1995.


The Technology and Engineering Division is headed by Joseph Minervini and comprises 35 engineers, scientists and administrative and support staff. It supports graduate and undergraduate students in the Nuclear Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Materials Science and Engineering departments.

This year most of the Division's work continued to focus on magnetics R&D for, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The principal effort has involved design and manufacture of the Central Solenoid Model Coil. This is a joint US-Japanese-European effort and MIT manages the US portion of the design and construction. Extensive collaboration with U.S. industries continued and includes subcontracts with Lockheed Martin, Wall-Colmonoy, Martinez and Turek, INCO Alloys International, and Intermagnetics General Corp., among others. A site leased in Hingham, MA allows PSFC engineers and technicians to perform critical of the coil fabrication, for example, insulating the magnet turns, and terminating the conductors.

In-house research for ITER concentrates on superconductor development, subscale testing, and magnet design and analysis. Significant results continue to be obtained in understanding the stability limitations of fast ramping the superconducting coils and an understanding of current distribution and crossover from strand to strand within a conductor is continuing. The Pulse Test Facility (PTF), has been completed and commissioned for pulse testing of large size superconductors and joints for ITER. The first US prototype joint was tested successfully and tests of joints from other ITER partners are now in process. This activity will continue into FY98. Prof. Ron Ballinger's Materials Science and Technology Group continues an expanded ITER task for detailed mechanical characterization of the superalloy Incoloy 908 which was initially developed in his laboratory. Results to date have removed much of our ITER partners' concern over the use of this material in the conduits for the ITER cable-in-conduit conductor.

At this time, the main ITER program funding appears secure for 1998, but the Technology and Engineering Division continues to seek new programs outside the Department of Energy supported fusion program. New initiatives have resulted in funding through INEL for a large scale, electromagnetic seismic simulator platform, and from the US Navy for design and analysis of conductor types for a Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage magnet. The Division is playing an active part in conductor and magnet design for the Korean KSTAR tokamak. This work takes place in conjunction with the Department of Energy under a recently signed U.S. - Korea bilateral research agreement. As KSTAR will be similar to TPX in scope and design this is a good match to our relevant experience from the TPX and ITER programs. The Division also has active proposals in several other areas of magnet technology, for example, open structure MRI imaging systems, and magnetic separation, which are likely to result in maintenance of near level personnel support into the next fiscal year.


The Plasma Science and Fusion Center has established an educational outreach program primarily focused on heightening the interest of K-12 students in scientific and technical subjects. The Mr. Magnet Program, headed by Technical Supervisor Paul Thomas, brings a traveling demonstration on magnetism into local elementary schools, inspiring and exciting students with the chance to take part in hands-on experiments with magnets. Over the past year he has worked with over 15,000 students. This year his outstanding service to the local area and to the MIT community earned him MIT's Billard Award. The Department of Energy has been so impressed with this program that they have directed the PSFC Director to fund half of Paul Thomas' salary for outreach activities using available DOE funds. We have also received contributions to the program from local businesses and foundations, allowing us to explore the possibility of creating video materials to leave with schools, showing young students participating in classic magnetic experiments.

The PSFC also seeks to educate students and the general public by conducting general tours of experiments being done here. Special "Outreach Days" are held twice a year, encouraging high school and middle school students from around Massachusetts to visit the PSFC for a day of hands-on demonstrations and tours.

The PSFC continues to work with other national laboratories to educate students and the general public. An Annual Teacher's Day and Open House has become a tradition at each year's APS meeting. The 1996 event in Denver was the result of a year of planning involving the local education community and representatives from various Laboratories. Education Outreach Coordinator Paul Rivenberg is involved with the planning of the 1997 event in Pittsburgh, in preparation for MIT's larger organizational role in the 1998 APS meeting in New Orleans. A similar outreach event is also being planned for the Spring of 1998 in Washington, DC, with support from the Coalition for Plasma Science.

The Coalition for Plasma Science is a new organization formed by members of universities and national laboratories, to promote understanding of the field of plasma science. Assistant Director Richard Temkin is working with this group on goals which include requesting support from Congress and funding agencies, strengthening appreciation of the plasma sciences by obtaining endorsements from industries involved in plasma applications, and addressing environmental concerns about plasma science, particularly fusion. Toby Smith of MIT's Washington Office, has been elected Acting Chairman of the Coalition. This group was responsible for overseeing a general educational exhibit about plasma and it's uses, which was presented in the Cannon House Rotunda in April.


During the past year, there have been several important appointments and promotions in Plasma Science and Fusion Center program areas.

Appointments: The Office of Resource Management appointed Peter Brenton as Fiscal Officer, Helene Keating as Headquarters Financial Administrator, Michael Majors as Fiscal Systems Manager, Winifred Nwangwu and Lorraine Ng as Assistant Fiscal Officers. In the Physics Research Division the appointments included Cristina Borras Senabre and Peter O'Shea as Postdoctoral Associates. The Alcator Project's appointments included Edward Eisner, John Heard and Darren Garnier as Postdoctoral Associates, Donald Heiman as Optical Engineer, Dmitri Mossessian as Research Scientist, Yuriy Rokham as Electrical Systems and Controls Engineer, Eric Taylor as Mechanical Engineer, David Terry as Power Systems Engineer, and Stephen Wukitch as Research Scientist. The Fusion Technology and Engineering Division appointed James McCarrick as Postdoctoral Associate, Tamara Galen and Alla Terentieva as temporary Engineers, and Alexander Zhukovsky as Research Engineer.

Internal Promotions: In the Office of Resource Management, Thomas Hrycaj was promoted to Administrative Officer and Paul Rivenberg to Public Relations and Outreach Coordinator. The Alcator Project promoted William Beck to Head of Mechanical Systems Development, Vincent Bertolino to Power Systems Engineer and Group Leader, William Cochran to Power Engineer, Richard Murray to Diagnostics Systems Engineer, and Frank Silva to Operations Coordinator. The Fusion Technology and Engineering Division promoted Gary Dekow to Technical Facility Operator, and Ali Shajii to Research Scientist. During the past year, there were three Institute research promotions in the Plasma Science and Fusion Center: Prof. Jeffrey Freidberg, Associate Director, Dr. Joseph Minervini, Principal Research Engineer, and Dr. Richard Temkin, Assistant Director. The Plasma Fusion Center has also hosted 63 Visiting Scientists, Engineers and Scholars, and Research Affiliates during the past year.


During the past year, the following departments granted students degrees with theses in plasma fusion and related areas: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: Judy Chen, Ph.D.; and Felicisimo Galicia, M.S. Mechanical Engineering: Kevin McFall, M.S.; Hana Ohkawa, M.S.; and Felicisimo Galicia, M.S. Nuclear Engineering: Matthew Ferri, Ph.D.; Daniel Lo, Ph.D.; James McCarrick, Ph.D.; and Steven Vitale, M.S. Physics: Stefano Coda, Ph.D.; Takuji Kimura, Ph.D.; Peter O'Shea, Ph.D.; Catherine Riconda, Ph.D.; Seth Trotz, Ph.D.; and Paul Stek, Ph.D.

We take this opportunity to wish these graduates success in their future professional endeavors.

More information about the Plasma Science and Fusion Center can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Miklos Porkolab

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97