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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society


plasmaThe Plasma Science and Applications Committee of the NPSS deals with research and development of the plasma state of matter. Since plasmas are conductive, responding to electric and magnetic fields, they are usable in numerous applications where such control is needed or when special sources of energy or radiation are required.



Michael Kong, Chair
Code 6770 Group Photo in the Mercury

Joe Schumer, Vice Chair

Steven Gold
Steven Gold, Secretary

Donald Shiffler, Past Chair

PSAC Ex Officio Voting Member

Steven Gitomer, Editor-in-Chief of Transactions on Plasma Science

PSAC AdCom Representatives

Monica BlankMonica Blank, AdCom 2019

Steven GoldSteven Gold, AdCom 2017 Brendan GodfreyBrendan Godfrey, AdCom 2020

ExCom Standing Subcommittees

  • The Awards Subcommittee identifies, encourages, and solicits PSAC member candidates for various IEEE awards: Chris Deeney (chair).
  • The International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) Conference Budget Subcommittee advises ICOPS chairs on budget preparation and reviews proposed budgets prior to approval by ExCom: Alla Safronova (chair), Joe Schumer.
  • The Employment and Careers Subcommittee solicits resumes and job postings for inclusion in PSAC ICOPS career fair every year: Chris Grabowski (chair), Alla Safronova, Tom Tierney, Rebecca Seviour, Sal Portillo.
  • The Membership Subcommittee recommends to the ExCom and implements approved actions to increase PSAC membership: Sal Portillo (chair).
  • The Minicourse Subcommittee suggests topics for the annual Plasma MiniCourse, held in conjunction with the PSAC ICOPS, and provides advice to help assure that the Minicourse is successful: Arati Dasgupta (chair).
  • The Nominations Subcommittee solicits nominees for the PSAC ExCom and for PSAC representatives to the NPSS AdCom: tbd (chair).
  • The Publicity Subcommittee develops and disseminates information about PSAC:  Brooke Stutzman (chair).
  • The Site Selection Subcommittee identifies potential ICOPS chairs and conference sites several years in advance, works with the proposed chairs to develop preliminary proposals, and presents recommendations to ExCom: Joe Schumer (chair).
  • The Student Travel Grants Subcommittee solicits candidates for and selects student awardees to receives grants to cover partial costs of attendance at the PSAC ICOPS:  tbd.

Technical Committee Information


ExCom Meeting Minutes (password protected)

ICOPS Archive (password protected)

Additional Information (password protected)


Directory of Plasma Conferences

Plasma Science and Applications (PSAC) Award


To recognize outstanding contributions to the field of Plasma Science.


A plaque, $3,000 cash award, and an invitation to present a talk at the International Conference on Plasma Science in the year of the award and to have the text of the talk published as an invited paper in the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science.

Selection Criteria

Primary consideration will be given to the impact of the research or new applications. Other factors can include research contributions over a career, the influence on plasma science through teaching, and professional service to the NPSS Plasma Science and Applications Committee and the plasma science community.  The nominee is not required to be a member of the NPSS or IEEE but, where candidates have otherwise equal qualifications, preference shall be given to the candidate who is a member of the IEEE.

Open to all, excluding current members of the NPSS Plasma Science and Applications Executive Committee.

Forms and Instructions

Nomination Deadline as Shown on Form (September-October of each year)



Nominations should be sent to:

Chris Deeney
Chair, PSAC Award Committee

Past Recipients

2017 Alan D. R. Phelps, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
For groundbreaking and influential contributions to the field of plasma science, including: diagnostics, waves, plasma-surface interactions, beam instabilities, ionospheric plasmas, magnetospheric science and novel microwave radiation sources.

2016 Christine A. Coverdale, Sandia National Laboratories
For contributions to innovation in K-shell x-ray sources with multi-keV photon energies plus deuterium gas puff neutron sources,
and service to the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.

2015 Alexander L. (Sasha) Velikovich, Naval Research Laboratory
For  advancing the theory of plasma shocks, hydrodynamics and magneto-hydrodynamics, thus enabling many-fold increases in both Z-pinch and laser-plasma experimental performance in radiation and fusion applications.

2014 Michael Desjarlais, Sandia National Laboratories
For pioneering contributions to the understanding of electrical and thermal transport properties, and equations of state for materials at extreme conditions through the use of first-principles density functional calculations, and generating numerous state-of-the-art wide-range conductivity models for use in a broad spectrum of simulation codes.

2013 Richard J. Temkin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For fundamental contributions to the field of high power gyrotrons and their application.

2012 Andrew Ng, University of British Columbia
For pioneering contributions to Warm Dense Matter Science through research on laser-driven shock compression and isochoric laser heating of solids, and for pivotal leadership in the advancement of Warm Dense Matter as a multidisciplinary scientific frontier.

2011 Thomas Katsouleas, Duke University
For fundamental contributions to the field of plasma-based accelerators.

2010 Manfred Thumm, Karsruhe Institute of Technology
For outstanding contributions to the development of high power microwave sources (in particular gyrotrons) for application in magnetically confined fusion plasma devices as well as for stimulating and establishing extensive international co-operations .

2009 Robert H. Barker, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
For more than two decades of visionary leadership in the fields of non-equilibrium air plasmas, compact pulsed power, and high power microwave/millimeter-wave electronics.

2008 Phillip Sprangle, Naval Research Laboratory
For pioneering research in plasma science, advanced accelerators and advanced radiation sources.

2007 Yitzhak Maron, Weizmann Institute of Science
For pioneering the application of spectroscopic techniques to the detailed space and time characterization of electric and magnetic fields, charged-particle beams, and plasmas under extreme conditions of high-current,
high-voltage, high-fields, and short-duration.

2006 Christopher Deeney, Sandia National Laboratories
For contributions to the advancement of Z-pinch physics understanding and applications.

2005 Neville Luhmann, Jr., University of California, Davis
For pioneering contributions to basic plasma science, and for the development of coherent microwave sources, including harmonic gyrotrons and gyro-TWTs, and of millimeter-wave imaging technologies, for plasma diagnostics and other applications.

2004 David A. Hammer, Cornell University
For fundamental contributions to the understanding of intense relativistic electron beam propagation, intense ion beam generation and propagation, innovative plasma diagnostic development for intense beam devices, x-ray source development using novel plasma pinches, and for his commitment to the mentoring of graduate students in the field of plasma science.

2003 Thomas A. Antonsen, Jr., University of Maryland
For his creative and seminal analyses of important problems in relativistic electronics, in the interaction of intense light pulses with plasmas, and in the heating and confinement of fusion plasmas.

2002 lgor Alexeff, University of Tennessee
For outstanding contributions to plasma science, including pioneering work on ion acoustic waves and on plasma sheath expansion, substantial impact on the development of high power microwave sources, dedicated mentorship and education of generations of students, and extraordinary professional service, including co-founding of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society in 1972.

2001 Kwo Ray Chu, National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan
For seminal plasma physics investigations yielding fundamental insight into coherent radiation processes, thereby significantly advancing the state of gyro-oscillator and amplifier technology.

2000 Mark Kushner, University of Illinois
For pioneering contributions to industrial applied plasma physics through personal research, consultation, the education of students, and the establishment of a world-class industrial plasma research facility at the University of Illinois.

1999 Y.Y. Lau, University of Michigan
For pioneering contributions to the science of electron-beams and coherent radiation sources, including electron-beam instabilities and crossed-field flow, multipactor, gyro-amplifiers, and ion-noise in traveling wave tubes.

1998 Akira Hirose, University of Saskatchewan
For outstanding contributions to theoretical/experimental work on basic and fusion-related plasma science including studies of waves, turbulent heating, quasi-steady operation, and anomalous transport in tokamaks.

1997 Ronald M. Gilgenbach, University of Michigan
For his many contributions to plasma science, particularly those in the area of cyclotron resonance heating of plasmas, long-pulse high-power diodes, electron beam transport and stability, and innovative diagnostics of laser-ablated plasma plumes.

1996 Wallace M. Manheimer, Naval Research Laboratory
For pioneering contributions to relativistic microwave electronics and to basic plasma theory. In particular, for developing new concepts in coherent radiation generation, including the quasi-optical gyrotron, and of new techniques for analyzing gyrotrons, gyro-klystrons, and free electron lasers.

1995 Michael A. Lieberman. University of California, Berkeley
For contributions to the pioneering development of the fields of fusion plasmas, plasma processing, and nonlinear dynamics, through both research and teaching.

1994 Francis F. Chen, University of California, Los Angeles
For outstanding contributions to plasma science in the areas of magnetic fusion, inertial confinement fusion, plasma diagnostics, laser-plasma interactions, plasma processing, and basic plasma phenomena.

1993 Noah Hershkowitz, University of Wisconsin
For contributions to plasma science through numerous experimental investigations of a variety of basic plasma phenomena, including solitons, plasma sheaths, ion-acoustic waves, electrostatic double layers, and magnetic cusps. His pioneering research efforts have dramatically enhanced our understanding of the confinement, heating, and stabilization of tandem mirror plasmas, as well as fueling and impurity generation processes in small and medium-sized tokamaks.

1992 Paul F. Ottinger, Naval Research Laboratory
For outstanding contributions in two areas of plasma science: intense light-ion-beam transport, stability and focusing for inertial confinement fusion, and the theory of the plasma opening switch for application to pulsed-power generators.

1991 Victor L. Granatstein, University of Maryland
For outstanding contributions to three areas of research: microwave generation with intense relativistic electron beams, RF sources for electron resonance heating of fusion plasmas, and microwave device physics and technology.

1990 Leon Shohet, University of Wisconsin
For outstanding contributions to research and education in the field of plasma science and engineering including significant contributions to stellarator research.

1989 George Bekefi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For outstanding contributions to the understanding of electromagnetic radiation processes in electron beam devices and plasma.

1988 Charles K. Birdsall, University of California, Berkeley
For the development and application of many-particle computer simulations to instabilities, heating and transport of high-temperature plasmas.

Igor Alexeff Outstanding Student in Plasma Science Award (established in 2008)


To recognize outstanding contributions to the field of plasma science and technology.

This award will be presented annually at the IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science.


$1000 and Certificate

Funded by the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society’s Plasma Science and Applications Committee

Selection Criteria

Any full time undergraduate or graduate university student in plasma science. The nominee must be a student when nominated.

Nominees will be judged according to their contributions to plasma science. The judgment will be based on quality of research contributions, quality of educational accomplishments, and quality and significance of publications and patents.

Forms and Instructions

Nomination Deadline as Shown on Form (September-October of each year)



Nominations should be sent to:

Chris Deeney
Chair, PSAC Award Committee

Past Recipients

2017 David Yager-Elorriaga, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
For innovative research contributions to the plasma science of excitation and stabilization of instabilities in
pulsed-power driven foil plasma implosions.

2016 Andreas Schlaich, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
For fundamental contributions to techniques for the investigation of gyrotron radio-frequency output spectra, both concerning novel measurement systems and the development of advanced data analysis tools, as well as investigations on various types of parasitic oscillations.

2015 Guy Rosenzweig, Weizmann Institute
For  developing and implementing, for the first time, a spectroscopic method for the measurement of the time-resolved magnetic field distribution, in both r and z, near the pinch axis, and throughout stagnation in a Z-pinch experiment.

2014 Shurik Yatom, Technion
For non-disturbing measurements of the parameters of runaway electrons, density of transient plasma and electric fields during nanosecond time scale discharge in pressurized gases.

2013 Paul Schmit, Princeton University
For the discovery of novel wave effects in compressing plasma, including: the switch-like collisionless damping mechanism capable of prescribing bursts of heat, current, magnetic field, or voltage; the autoresonant beam acceleration induced by plasma compression; and the curious effects of nonlinear plasma waves on plasma compressibility.

2012 Boaz Rubinstein, Weizmann Institute
For experimental and theoretical plasma spectroscopy advances leading to new insights into magnetic field penetration in nearly-collisionless plasmas.

2011 Chao Chang, Tsinghua University, Beijing
For theoretical and experimental contributions to the understanding and suppression of high voltage microwave-driven breakdown phenomena.

2009 Gregory Fridman, Drexel University
For contributions to the field of Plasma Medicine.