Richard D. Petrasso, head of the High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Division of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), received the 2013 Edward Teller Medal for his division’s work in inertial confinement fusion and high-energy-density physics.
The Fusion Energy Division of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) presented the award on Sept. 11 at the International Inertial Fusion Science and Applications Conference (IFSA) in Nara, Japan. Petrasso was cited “for pioneering the use of nuclear diagnostics for understanding inertial confinement fusion implosions and high-energy-density physics.”
Petrasso joined PSFC in 1983, and began working on inertial confinement fusion in the late 1980’s with his graduate student Chikang Li, who has since become his colleague and associate division head. Over the years, he and his team of researchers and graduate students have developed numerous innovative nuclear diagnostics to measure the internal conditions and dynamics of inertially confined implosions and high-energy density plasmas, collaborating largely with scientists from the Omega Laser Facility at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics and from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
Petrasso has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and has given numerous invited talks at international conferences. He is co-founder and chair of the Omega Laser Users’ Group (OLUG) at the University of Rochester.
“I am honored to receive an award named after Edward Teller, a man who was the prime motivator for inertial confinement fusion research,” Petrasso said. “Important progress has been made at the NIF and the Omega Laser Facility, but challenging and engaging scientific problems remain for our community. I look forward to continuing to explore these paths alongside our students and collaborators.”
Also receiving the award with Petrasso was physicist Dr. James Hammer of LLNL. The Edward Teller Medal recognizes pioneering research and leadership in the use of laser and ion-particle beams to produce extraordinarily high-temperature and high-density matter for scientific research and for controlled thermonuclear fusion.