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Holger Reimerdes receives the 2016 Landau-Spitzer Award

H-Reimerdes (left) and S.A. Sabbagh © 2016 Rob Stevens, KU Leuven

H-Reimerdes (left) and S.A. Sabbagh © 2016 Rob Stevens, KU Leuven

Dr. Holger Reimerdes, research scientist at the Swiss Plasma Center (SPC), was invited to the recent 43rd European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics, in Leuven, Belgium, to publicly receive the Landau-Spitzer Award.

The 2016 Landau-Spitzer Award has been attributed to a group of four plasma physicists, H. Reimerdes (EPFL), J. W. Berkery, S. A. Sabbagh (both of Columbia University, USA) and Y. Liu (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, UK) for their work on Magneto-Hydrodynamic stability of fusion plasmas.

The citation reads as follows: “For their seminal joint research providing key understanding and quantitative verification of global mode stability in experimental high performance tokamak plasmas, based on drift-kinetic MHD theory, and made possible by strong and essential partnership between Europe and the USA”. The research for which the honour was awarded comprises a decade of published effort on resistive wall mode theory and its validation through experiments on the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics, San Diego, USA and the National Spherical Tokamak Experiment (NSTX) at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton, USA.

The work by the honourees led to a paradigm change in the understanding of the stability of high pressure tokamak plasmas. Pioneering work initiated in the 90ies at the EPFL had suggested that fast rotation of hot hydrogen plasmas in tokamaks would lead to a significant increase of the plasma pressure than can be confined by the magnetic field. Experiments by H. Reimerdes and his colleagues demonstrated that much lower rotation as expected in ITER, currently under construction, may in fact enhance the stability even further, confirming a far-reaching extension of the original theory. An extensive verification and validation effort showed the agreement between experiment and theory.

The experimental results were confirmed through an extensive and successful verification and validation effort.

The biennial honour is presented jointly by the American and European Physical Societies to an individual or to a group of researchers for outstanding theoretical, experimental or technical contributions in plasma physics, and for advancing the collaboration and unity between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA) by joint research, or research that advances knowledge which benefits the EU and USA communities in a unique way.

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© 2016 Rob Stevens, KU Leuven
© 2016 Rob Stevens, KU Leuven

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