Director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)
areas of expertise: magnetic fusion energy
Miklos Porkolab earned a BASc, University of British Columbia, 1963; PhD, Stanford University, 1967. His previous employment included Princeton University, Plasma Physics Laboratory — Research Staff (1967-1977); Astrophysical Sciences — lecturer with rank of professor (1975-1977).
At Princeton, Porkolab’s research concentrated on a quantitative understanding of the dispersive properties of plasma waves and instabilities in magnetized plasmas. This involved pioneering experimental measurements where the validity of the collisionless Boltzmann equation was verified, including nonlinear scattering of Bernstein waves with wavelengths comparable to the electron Larmor radius. This work included an experimental verification of nonlinear Landau damping, nonlinear resonant wave-wave scattering and of parametric instabilities, and a prediction of upper hybrid solitons.
In 1977, Porkolab joined the MIT Department of Physics and the newly established Plasma Fusion Center, where he began pioneering experiments on lower hybrid current drive in tokamak plasmas. Further work included clarifying the physics of ion cyclotron heating and mode conversion processes in multi-ion species fusion plasmas. Critical aspects of this work included measurements of mode converted ion Bernstein and ion cyclotron waves (ICW) using Phase Contrast Imaging (PCI). Recent work with PCI concentrated on measuring turbulence and Alfven wave phenomena in tokamak plasmas.
Honors: Fellow, APS (1976); Humboldt Prize (1976, US Senior Scientist); APS Excellence in Plasma Research Award, (1984); U.S Delegate, IUPAP, Comission 16, (1991-1997); Editor, Physics Letters A, (1991-2001); Chair, Division of Plasma Physics, APS, (1999); Chairman of Board, Fusion Power Associates, (2001-2006); Fellow, AAAS (2005); Karoly Simony Memorial Plaque and Prize, Hungarian Nuclear Society, 2007; James Clerk Maxwell Prize, American Physical Society, 2009.
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