MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The Plasma Science and Fusion Center is recognized as the leading university laboratory in the world in developing the scientific and engineering aspects of magnetic confinement fusion and conducting cutting-edge research in plasma science and related 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 (including theoretical research, new confinement concepts such as the Levitated Dipole Experiment (LDX), 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, and system studies of fusion reactors), and (d) a significant activity in developing environmental remediation techniques based on plasma technology, including industrial applications.

The Plasma Science and Fusion Center R&D programs are supported principally by the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. There are approximately 240 personnel associated with PSFC research activities. These include: 17 faculty and senior academic staff, 43 graduate students and 4 undergraduates, with participating faculty and students from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, and Physics; 66 research scientists, engineers and technical staff, 57 visiting scientists and engineers, postdoctoral associates and research affiliates, 29 technical support personnel; and 24 administrative and support staff.

PSFC's research funding declined slightly this past year, going from $33.7 million in FY98 to $31.4 million in FY99. The drop in funding was anticipated and is due to the completion of the Center's participation in the DoE funded International Thermonuclear Reactor Program (ITER) which is ending due to lack of Congressional support. In the four PSFC research divisions (PSFC has five research divisions in total) not affected by the loss of ITER funds, however, funding actually increased by about 17 percent. The full impact of the loss of ITER funding will be felt in FY00, when all contracts will have been completed and paid in full.


The Alcator Division, led by Prof. Ian Hutchinson and deputy division head Dr. Earl Marmar, carries out experimental research on Alcator C-Mod, a compact, high field high-performance divertor tokamak devoted to investigating the physics of high temperature magnetically confined fusion grade plasmas. The total staff of the Alcator Project is about 100, including 18 full time physicists, two faculty members and 18 graduate students.

Recently, C-Mod has become a National User's Facility, and as such, the total C-Mod project funding is supplemented by approximately 20 percent by way of non-MIT collaborators. Substantial ongoing collaborations with the University of Texas, Austin, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, are making major contributions to all areas of the C-Mod research effort. Direct funding to MIT grew to $14.4M in FY99, and is expected to remain approximately flat in FY00. Utilization of the facility is expected to grow to 18 weeks in FY00.

There are four key areas of investigation on Alcator C-Mod. Transport studies on C-Mod provide critical tests of empirical scalings and theoretically-based interpretations of tokamak transport at unique dimensional parameters, but with dimensionless parameters comparable to those in larger experiments. Plasma boundary research on C-Mod takes advantage of the advanced divertor shaping, very high scrape-off layer power density, high divertor plasma density, unique abilities in diagnosis and neutral control, and a high-Z metal wall. Ion cyclotron radio frequency power provides the auxiliary heating on C-Mod, and is exploited for research into wave absorption and parasitic losses and mode conversion processes. Advanced tokamak research on C-Mod proposes to demonstrate fully relaxed current profile control and sustainment through efficient off-axis current drive by radio waves in the lower hybrid range of frequencies.

In the area of transport research, we are investigating the physics which underlies the so-called EDA (Enhanced Dalpha) H-mode of operation. Named for its most salient feature, an enhancement of the line radiation from neutral deuterium at the edge of the plasma, this regime features excellent energy confinement, and only moderate particle and impurity confinement, and no large ELMS (edge localized modes). This regime has significant advantages over standard ELMy and ELMfree H-modes observed in other tokamaks that operate at lower magnetic fields and densities. The EDA regime would be an attractive mode of operation in a fusion reactor. With fluctuation diagnostics, we have found that EDA is correlated with the presence of strong quasi-coherent oscillations in the pedestal region. Our working hypothesis is that these fluctuations are associated with the mechanism that relaxes the edge gradient.

We are also carrying out studies of toroidal rotation, which is observed in C-Mod in spite of the fact that there is no direct momentum input. Recent studies suggest that a transport mechanism (perhaps turbulent Reynolds stress) is responsible for part or all of the observed rotation.

As part of the effort to understand the effects of geometry and neutrals on boundary plasma transport, we installed a variable neutral bypass valve between regions in the boundary. With this tool, we have found that we can strongly affect the level of neutrals in different regions, as well as modify the penetration of impurities into the hot core plasma. These results have important implications for the design of the first-wall of tokamak devices.

Ion cyclotron radio frequency (ICRF) power on C-Mod was almost doubled to the 7 MW level through the addition of 4 MW of tunable power in the 40-80 MHz range and a four strap antenna (a collaboration with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory). These major upgrades will make it possible to explore rf wave absorption and tokamak confinement physics near the ideal MHD beta-limit. Mode conversion from fast Alfven waves to short wavelength Bernstein waves will also be explored and mode conversion current drive experiments will be performed using the new phaseable four strap antenna built at Princeton. Detailed comparisons between ICRF theory and experiment will be carried out using a state of the art full wave electromagnetic field solver (the TORIC code) that was implemented at MIT through a collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (Germany).

This past year we have formally proposed to DoE the addition of a new RF system to C-Mod, namely, a 3 MW, 4.6 GHz microwave system. The addition of 3 MW of off-axis lower hybrid current drive power would make it possible to operate the tokamak near the ideal MHD beta limit at somewhat reduced fields with purely noninductively maintained current profiles. A significant fraction (60- 70 percent) of the total current in these discharges would be generated by "bootstrap" effects and the auxiliary heating will be supplied by 5 MW of ICRF heating power at 80 MHz and 60 MHz. The ultimate goal of these experiments is to demonstrate control of the current profile and sustainment of high MHD beta limits in the presence of steep transport barriers and fully relaxed current profiles. A detailed theoretical modeling program has been carried out for several years, and its results have clearly shown C-Mod's excellent potential to carry out these "Advanced Tokamak" types of experiments. This program will ensure a vigorous research program on Alcator for the next 5 years, at a minimum.


The Physics Research Division, headed by Prof. Miklos Porkolab, seeks to develop a theoretical and experimental understanding of plasma physics and fusion science. This Division is also a base for developing basic plasma physics experiments, new confinement concepts, novel inertial confinement fusion diagnostics and space plasma physics experiments. In addition, this Division is also the home for a strong base and supporting theory program. This past year has seen the start of construction of the Levitated Dipole Experiment in the Nabisco Laboratory, a new magnetic confinement concept developed between Columbia University and MIT scientists.


The principal purposes of the Plasma Edge and Core Transport and Turbulence Theory Group (Drs. Dieter Sigmar, Peter Catto and Sergei Krasheninnikov) are to understand plasma and neutral particle turbulence and nonlinear transport effects in the core and edge regions of fusion relevant devices such as Alcator C-Mod and DIII-D. The goal is to obtain fundamental theoretical insights and to develop an understanding of the physics of reactor relevant fusion plasmas which will lead to improved performance. Particularly noteworthy results in the past year include better understanding of anomalous edge plasma transport in Alcator C-Mod, and in the discovery of a realistic finite plasma pressure equilibrium for a plasma confined by a point dipole magnetic field (LDX).

In the research area of advanced Tokamak physics, MHD stability, and RF interactions, state of the art simulation codes have been developed (Drs. Paul Bonoli and Jesus Ramos and Prof. Miklos Porkolab) and used to compute self-consistent MHD equilibria in the presence of non-inductively driven currents. These studies form the basis of a proposed major upgrade to the Alcator C-Mod tokamak involving the addition of off-axis lower hybrid current drive power (up to 3 MW) and 5 MW of ion cyclotron resonance heating power. This will allow C-Mod to explore stable modes of operation near the ideal MHD beta limit. These so-called advanced tokamak operating modes are characterized by enhanced confinement regimes, high fractions (approximatley 70 percent) of non-inductive bootstrap current, and non-monotonic profiles of the plasma safety factor. The same numerical models were also used to analyze a new superconducting tokamak concept which combines a standard (ST) inductively driven tokamak mode of operation with a steady state advanced tokamak mode. Because burn physics can be studied during the inductively driven ST mode of operation, this concept has been named the Advanced Tokamak Burning Plasma Experiment (ATBX).

Under the leadership of Prof. Abraham Bers and Dr. Abhay K. Ram, theoretical work in RFD theory and basic plasma theory has focused on: (a) exploring the possibilities of synergism between bootstrap current and RF current drive for steady-state operation of tokamak fusion reactors; (b) continuing our work on coupling to and propagation of electron Bernstein waves for heating and current drive in the National Spherical Tokamak Experiment (NSTX), which has just started its operation during this year; and (c) our continued interest in understanding and modeling intense laser-plasma interactions in inertial fusion experiments, and in particular collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory.


The Levitated Dipole Experiment (LDX) represents a new concept exploration experiment funded by the Department of Energy and is initially funded as a 5 year research grant with an approximate annual budget of $1.3 million (shared between MIT and Columbia University). LDX is a joint collaborative project with Columbia University and it will be located in NW21 at MIT. The principal investigators of this project are Dr. Jay Kesner of the MIT and Professor Michael Mauel of Columbia University. The LDX facility is being designed by the Technology & Engineering Division of the PSFC under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Minervini. he design of the facility was largely completed during FY98 and we have now entered the construction phase. The first plasma results are expected in the summer of 2000. When completed LDX will be the only superconducting magnetic confinement experiment in the U.S. fusion research program.

The levitated dipole experiment represents a new and innovative approach to magnetic fusion which will utilize a levitated superconducting coil to confine plasma in a dipole magnetic field. The concept was inspired by the observations of high pressure plasmas confined by planetary dipole magnetic fields, such as the magnetosphere which surrounds Jupiter. Compared with the traditional fusion approaches the levitated dipole may permit the confinement of higher pressure plasmas, leading to advanced fusion fuel cycles.

Visiting Prof. Min-Chang Lee (Boston University) and his students continued their studies of turbulence in the ionospheric chamber simulation experiments on the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF). The aim of this work is to better understand the physics of past Arecibo/Trelew ionospheric experiments showing that radio wave-excited sheet-like ionospheric density irregularities can act as multi-parallel-plate waveguides, effectively guiding the whistler waves to propagate from Arecibo to its magnetic conjugate point in Argentina. The PSFC's new Ionospheric Radar Integrated System (IRIS), a new project funded by DoD's Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP), includes a portable radar operating in the frequency range of 10—60 MHz and a digital ionosonde transmitting from 2 to 20 MHz. IRIS will be used as a new RF source and for plasma diagnoses, respectively, in future VTF laboratory experiments and plasma heating experiments in Alaska and Puerto Rico.

Professor Ambrogio Fasoli leads the basic plasma physics experimental group. His research is related to fundamental plasma physics problems that may have an impact upon the different applications, from thermonuclear fusion to space physics. The activities of this group are focused on the Versatile Toroidal Facility, on which several diagnostics and radio-frequency power systems for the plasma production and heating are being installed, mostly from the old Versator II tokamak facility. This upgrade is undertaken with the goal of studying magnetic reconnection processes in plasmas. Magnetic reconnection, i.e. the change in magnetic field topology in the presence of plasma, is one of the most important but least understood phenomena in plasma physics and is relevant to both space plasmas and fusion experiments.

Professor Fasoli is also involved in collaborative research at the Joint European Torus (JET) at Oxford (UK) into the interactions between plasma waves and fast particles in magnetic fusion reactors. Understanding the interaction between plasma waves and fast particles is critical to understanding the behavior of burning tokamak plasmas. Recently, DoE's Office of Science promised to fund this activity at the $160,000 per year level for 3 years. Related experiments will also be carried out on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak.

Dr. Richard Petrasso heads a group at PSFC that conducts novel diagnostic experiments on inertial confinement fusion in collaboration with experiments (NOVA and NIF, and Omega) being conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the University of Rochester, respectively. This effort is funded at the $0.5-million per year level. The MIT group has built and deployed two large charged particle (ions) spectrometers at the Omega inertial confinement fusion facility at the University of Rochester. These spectrometers are prototypes for similar ones which MIT will design and field at the NIF. Over the next five years, they will continue to obtain and analyze energetic ion (MeV and higher energies) data, typically byproducts of fusion reactions in the compressed pellets, from the Omega experiment while at the same time plan for experiments at the NIF. Present designs for the NIF have 6 spectrometers deployed at various angles over the chamber. Another major effort is the role MIT is playing in the utilization of the NIF for doing basic science, given the unique conditions that can be achieved. MIT has the charge of organizing and implementing the Basic Science User Group for the NIF. As such, this encompasses astrophysics and space plasmas, plasma physics, material science, radiative properties and sources, and hydrodynamics. Although the first NIF plasmas will be achieved in 2003, the first national workshop of the Basic Science User Group will be held this fall at Livermore.

The development of fusion energy diagnostic technology is an ongoing effort at the PSFC. In one initiative, PSFC and General Atomics (GA) have collaborated for several years now on Phase Contrast Imaging on the DIII-D tokamak at GA. Through careful study over time, properties of edge turbulence in plasmas have been mapped out. A new three year grant proposal was submitted by Professor Porkolab to DoE for funding at the $100,000 per year level. The goal is to study turbulence in high temperature fusion plasma in the core region of DIII-D. If the upgrade is approved, funding of this project through FY2005 (and beyond) is expected. In another area, gyrotron scattering experiments (Dr. Paul Woskov and coworkers) have been completed on JET. A new project has been proposed by way of a new 3-way collaboration among U.S., Dutch, and German scientists on the TEXTOR tokamak in Jülich, Germany.


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. 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 90—300 GHz at power levels of up to several megawatts. The gyrotron research group is led by Dr. Kenneth Kreischer. In the past year, this group has succeeded in creating an output beam which is nearly a perfect Gaussian beam in a 1 MW, 110 GHz gyrotron. By achieving such a high quality beam, the gyrotron efficiency was increased and the design of auxiliary transmission line components would be greatly simplified. In a second application, the same techniques have also been applied to the design of phase correcting mirrors for use on the LHD stellarator experiment in Japan as part of our international collaboration program. Other areas of investigation include higher power (1.5 MW, 110 GHz, 3 MW, 140 GHz) gyrotrons. 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. Dynamic tests of this window, at high pressure and temperature, are planned for this year, following a successful static pressure test last year. In research on a 250 GHz gyrotron for use in electron spin resonance and nuclear magnetic resonance studies, first results were achieved this year with operation at CW power levels of up to 50 W. This research, funded by NIH in collaboration with Prof. R. Griffin of the Magnet Lab, is a pioneering effort in high frequency electron spin resonance studies. In a new program which will start this year, we have been funded as part of a DoD MURI consortium for Innovative Vacuum Electronics. We will begin research on a gyrotron amplifier at 95 GHz; photonic bandgap structures and novel cathodes.

The High Gradient Accelerator Group continued 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, 17.1 GHz klystron power source drives the electron gun. The 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 that can reach the TeV range of energies. Steady progress had been made in 1999 in achieving the goals stated in previous President's Reports. In particular, this research program 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 related topics. In 1999, as a collateral activity, Mr. Yoel Fink, a graduate student, invented a new technique for making highly reflecting mirrors. This research, conducted in collaboration with other groups on campus, led to a series of articles describing the breakthrough, including an article in the New York Times Science Section.


The objectives of the Plasma Technology Division led, by Drs. Daniel and Paul Woskov, are to develop new fusion spin-off applications, particularly in the environmental area; to develop new fusion diagnostics; and to develop new fusion reactor system concepts. Of particular importance is the program to develop new environmental monitoring. Microwave plasma spectrometer systems are being developed to provide sensitive continuous measurements of metals emissions in offgas from incinerators, arc furnaces and other thermal treatment facilities at Department of Energy sites. The systems provide unique capability for in situ measurements. The Division received an R&D 100 award in 1998 for development of a special spectrometer for this application. The Plasma Technology is also investigating the use of millimeter wave reflectometry and pyrometry for measurement of the properties of glass produced in vitrification of radioactive waste.

Another major thrust is in the area of plasma aided manufacturing of hydrogen. Hydrogen has potential environmental advantages as a fuel that can greatly reduce pollution from stationery electricity generating systems and from vehicles. There are two projects. One project investigates the use of plasmatrons to manufacture hydrogen for use in stationery fuel cell facilities, vehicle refueling stations and hydrogen production facilities. The other project is investigating the vehicular use of compact plasma devices for onboard conversion of hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen-rich gas. The hydrogen-rich gas would then be combusted in a conventional spark ignition engine. The hydrogen-rich gas could be used as an additive to gasoline during the majority of the driving cycle and as the entire fuel during cold start. Large reductions in NOx could be obtained. Hydrogen emissions during cold start could also be significantly reduced. This plasma aided conversion technology could greatly reduce pollution from cars, trucks and buses in the relatively near term without substantial cost increases or inconvenience. Over the longer term, the technology could facilitate the use of difficult to use alternative fuels. One possibility is the use of greenhouse gas reducing bio-oils that could be produced from rapidly growing trees and crops.

Dr. Dan Cohn has received a 1999 Discover Award for Technology Innovation in the Transportation category for plasma hydrogen reformer development.


The Technology and Engineering, headed by Drs. Joseph Minervini and Deputy Head Richard Thome, conducts research on conventional and superconducting magnets for fusion devices and other large scale power and energy systems.

During the past year the major emphasis of the Division's effort has been on completing the Central Solenoid Model Coil (CSMC) as one of the major R&D tasks of the ITER Engineering Design Activity (EDA). This work was carried out both through subcontracts to industry, with Lockheed Martin being the prime contractor, and through coil fabrication activities by engineers and technicians from the Technology and Engineering Division and from the Alcator Division, in an MIT-leased facility in Hingham, MA. The US module has now been completed and shipped to Japan where it is being integrated with a module from the Japanese and structural components from the US. Completion of this coil is one of the world's leading achievements in large scale superconducting magnet technology. The CSMC is the world's most powerful superconducting pulse magnet, storing 640 MJ of energy at the design field of 13T. During the coming year, PSFC engineers will participate in an extensive testing program of this coil and three additional insert coils at the JAERI research site in Naka, Japan.

The activities of the division in support of ITER have decreased significantly in conjunction with the US reduction in participation during 1998 and the subsequent ending of US support for the ITER Program this year. Budget constraints will only allow a minimum participation by the US in the testing of the CSMC in Japan and no participation in the testing of the ITER Toroidal Field Model Coil in Europe.

The Division is providing engineering support to the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in the evaluation of Next Step Options for the US Fusion Program and in the design of selected machines, specifically, the Fusion Ignition Research Experiment (FIRE). Dr. Thome leads the engineering effort from MIT. The Division provides a major role in the magnet design and structural analyses for the NSO evaluation. Another active area of research was performed under sub-contract to the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory for magnets and magnet systems design for the Korean K-STAR superconducting tokamak program. Additional supporting superconductor R&D was performed under direct contract to Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. A full-scale 35 kA conductor and joint were delivered for testing to the new SAIT magnet facility in Taejon, South Korea.

Other major Division activities included continuation of materials development on the new superalloy Incoloy 908 in the Materials Laboratory of the Technology and Engineering Division under the leadership of Prof. Ronald Ballinger. This alloy was specifically developed by Prof. Ballinger and INCO Alloys International (Huntington, WV) to enhance the performance of Nb3Sn superconductors when used in a cable-in-conduit conductor configuration. This research will be of great benefit to many other alloys which are sensitive to stress corrosion cracking.

New areas of research include: Systems and quadrupole magnet array design studies for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in support of the US Heavy Ion Fusion Driver program, a major focus for Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE); design of an integrated superconducting Helmholtz pair magnet system under subcontract to the Naval Research Laboratory in support of the US KrF laser fusion program; collaboration with the American Superconductor Corporation (ASC) by means of a DoE sponsored SBIR award (Phase II) to construct the high temperature superconductor (HTS) levitation coil for LDX and develop higher-current cable, using HTS conductor; design of a quadrupole focusing magnet as a proton lens for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Proton Radiography program; and a new research effort applying high gradient magnetic separation to separation of blood cells. We will shortly propose to NIH the development of a new device to separate blood components for therapeutic purposes. Initial laboratory tests confirmed the principle.

Overall funding from the main OFES magnetics program continued to be substantially reduced for fiscal year 1999, which resulted in further layoff notices for research staff members. The budget outlook for FY2000 continues to be poor which may require us to reduce staff further as well as reduce the number of graduate students funded by OFES research assistance.


The Plasma Science and Fusion Center's educational outreach program is planned and organized under the direction of Mr. Paul Rivenberg, Outreach and Public Relations Coordinator of the PSFC. The program focuses on heightening the interest of K—12 students in scientific and technical subjects. The PSFC seeks to educate local 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 Mr. Magnet Program, headed by Mr. Paul Thomas, is completing its seventh year of bringing lively demonstrations on magnetism into local elementary and middle schools. Each year Mr. Magnet presents the program to over 30,000 students at over 55 schools and other events, reaching students from Kindergarten through college freshmen. He makes a special effort to encourage girls to consider a science-related career. This year Paul Thomas has continued to increase his national visibility. He traveled to New Orleans in November, 1998 to participate in education events at the APS-DPP Annual Meeting, including giving an invited talk about his popular program. He also drove twice to Washington, DC in 1998, to participate in both a Plasma Expo for students, and a special reception demonstrating hands-on plasma science for congressional staffers. In 1999 the APS Centennial Committee invited Mr. Magnet to the Atlanta Centennial conference, where he visited High Schools and presented his program at the Scitrek Museum. Similar occasions are being planned for the future. In response to the growth of the Mr. Magnet Program, MIT in 1998 generously provided Paul Thomas with a new, larger truck to carry his expanding repertoire of experiments. These demonstrations were filmed at two schools during the spring. The videotape will be edited into a brief profile of the program for distribution to interested media and potential funding sources. The Department of Energy continues to be impressed with this program, and encourages more national outreach.

The PSFC continues to work with other national laboratories to educate students and the general public. An annual Teacher's Day (to educate teachers about plasmas) and Open House (to which they can bring their students) has become tradition at each year's APS-DPP meeting. The 1998 education events in New Orleans were headed by PSFC Outreach Coordinator Paul Rivenberg, who worked with the local education community and representatives from various laboratories to ensure success. The events attracted record numbers–132 teachers at Teachers Day and 3,300 students/public at the Plasma Expo–more than doubling attendance from the previous year. Cambridge Physics Outlet, an education organization created by PSFC graduates, helped both with workshops and demonstrations for this event.

Mr. Rivenberg also helped present a poster session at this meeting with 4th-grade student, Carlos Kaufman and his teacher Beverly Favreau. Carlos had approached the PSFC when he was in the 3rd grade to find out as much as he could about nuclear fusion, ultimately presenting a report to his classmates and their parents. Carlos' journey to New Orleans to be at this poster session, which highlighted Ms. Favreau's teaching methods in relation to the topic of fusion, received publicity from Tech Talk, The Boston Globe and The Berkshire Eagle. Valerie Censabella, Alcator Administrator, also presented an education poster about the latest improvements to the C-Mod, Jr. video game, designed to teach students how magnets keep plasma away from the walls of the tokamak. Mr. Rivenberg is providing some editorial and administrative support to the1999 APS education efforts in Seattle, headed by General Atomics.

The PSFC continues to be involved with educational efforts sponsored by the Coalition for Plasma Science, a growing organization formed by members of universities and national laboratories to promote understanding of the field of plasma science. Associate Director Dr. Richard Temkin, who oversees PSFC education efforts, 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. Paul Rivenberg has taken on duties as editor of the Coalition's "Plasma Page," a summary of plasma-related news items of interest to the media. Mr. Rivenberg is also heading a subcommittee to create a web site to help teachers bring the topic of plasma into their classrooms.


The Plasma Science and Fusion Center is committed to increasing the number of women and minorities at those levels of the work force where there is significant under representation. Our success in meeting this objective is dependent on the pool of applicants available at each level. For example, 75.0 percent of both the SRS administrative and support staff are women, while 18.0 percent of both support and service staff are African Americans. In these categories, we have found that our search procedures, which utilize both internal and external resources, have turned up an excellent supply of highly qualified candidates. On the other hand, at the SRS technical level, our success is more modest: approximately 3.0 percent of SRS technical staff are women, while 7.6 percent are other minorities, most of whom are Asian Americans. We are attempting to enlarge the reservoir of qualified underrepresented applicants in the near term by more intensive dissemination of job postings to organizations specifically concerned with opportunities for women and other minorities and, in the long term, with a substantial K—12 and undergraduate outreach effort which encourages women and other minorities to pursue careers as scientists and engineers.


During the past year, there have been several important appointments and promotions in Plasma Science and Fusion Center program areas. In the Physics Research Division, Jan Egedal Pederson, Damian Hicks and Duccio Testa were appointed Postdoctoral Associates. Chikang Li was promoted to Associate Group Leader. The Alcator Project promoted William Cochrane to Power Systems Group Leader. There were three Institute promotions to Senior Research Scientist, Bruce Lipschultz, Sergei Krasheninnikov and Richard Petrasso, and Chiping Chen was promoted to Principal Research Scientist.


During the past year, the following departments granted students degrees with theses in plasma fusion and related areas:

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

Miklos Porkolab

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99