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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society


I’m pleased to report that the 2023 NPSS Society Awards have been decided. This year we have 11 winners, who were chosen by the NPSS Awards Committee, consisting of all eight Technical Chairs. I would like to congratulate all of these deserving winners. The pool of nominees was very strong, necessitating difficult decisions. You will find below the biographies of all 2023 award winners. Please consider nominating a colleague for our 2024 round of awards, which has a deadline of January 31, 2024. All the application forms can be found on the IEEE NPSS web site at

Ron Schrimpf, Chair of the IEEE NPSS Awards Committee, can be reached by E-mail at

Richard F. Shea Distinguished Member Award

Stefan Ritt obtained his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1993. Currently, he is the head of the Muon Physics Group at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. His group focuses on conducting highly sensitive experiments using high-intensity muon beams at the lab’s proton accelerator, aiming to explore the realms of New Physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics. These cutting-edge experiments necessitate the utilization of state-of-the-art technology in data acquisition hardware and software, often requiring in-house development due to their unavailability in the commercial market.

Stefan has gained recognition as a key contributor to the development of several prominent tools and technologies. He is widely acknowledged as the primary developer of the MIDAS data acquisition package, a collaborative effort with TRIUMF, Canada (, as well as his electronic logbook eLog ( Furthermore, his contributions extend to the creation of the DRS4 chip ( which allows time measurements at the Picosecond level, for which he was honored with the prestigious NPSS Emilio Gatti Radiation Instrumentation Technical Achievement Award in 2020.

In addition to his remarkable technical accomplishments, Stefan actively engages with the NPSS community. Since 2003, he has played an integral role in the organization of the IEEE NPSS Real Time Conference, assuming the position of General Chair for the first-ever virtual Real Time Conference in 2020, amidst the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. He has also served as a regular topic convener in the NSS/MIC conference since 2013 and held the position of NSS co-chair in 2020, with plans to reprise this role in 2024. Looking ahead, Stefan is slated to serve as the General Chair of the NSS/MIC conference scheduled to take place in Europe in 2026.

Within the NPSS Administrative Committee, Stefan has held various significant positions. He has served as the Technical Community Chair for CANPS, Nominations Chair, Awards Chair, and held the esteemed role of NPSS President from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, he spearheaded the establishment of the NPSS Educational Committee, which oversees the NPSS schools, and has served as its inaugural chair since 2022. Stefan’s remarkable contributions have been recognized with his induction as an IEEE Fellow in 2016.

Citation: “For his innovative leadership as the President of the NPSS and an organizer and instructor at NPSS Summer Schools and as a world-leading expert in the field of ultra-fast data acquisition.”

Early Achievement Award

Ken Hara is an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He received a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Plasma Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan (2015), and B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Tokyo (2008, 2010). Prior to his appointment at Stanford, he was a Visiting Research Physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2016) and an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University (2016-2019). His research interests include spacecraft electric propulsion, low temperature plasmas, plasma instabilities and wave-plasma interactions, plasma sheaths, pulsed plasmas, atmospheric pressure arc discharge, computational plasma dynamics, data-driven modeling, and rarefied gas flows. He has investigated various fluid and kinetic phenomena in low-temperature partially magnetized plasmas, including breathing mode oscillations, azimuthally rotating spokes and gradient-drift instability, enhanced cross-field transport due to coupling of kinetic instabilities such as electron cyclotron drift instability and ion-ion two-stream instability, and current-carrying ion-acoustic instability. In addition, he has contributed to developing computational capabilities, including full fluid moment models, particle-based kinetic simulations such as particle-in-cell and Monte Carlo collision methods, grid-based direct kinetic models, and state estimation techniques using Kalman filters.

Citation: For contributions to development of computational models and understanding of low-temperature partially magnetized plasmas.

Glenn F. Knoll Postdoctoral Scholar

Oskari Pakari is a tenure track scientist at the Laboratory for Reactor Physics and Systems Behavior (LRS) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). His current research interests include nuclear security, 3D radiation measurements, nuclear reactor safety, and nuclear data.

Oskari received a B.Sc. degree in physics in 2014 from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and a joint M.Sc. degree in Nuclear Engineering from ETH Zurich and EPFL in 2016. He then joined LRS to pursue a PhD in physics at EPFL. He investigated neutron and gamma ray noise measurements in research reactors and graduated in 2020. In 2021, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the dosimetry lab at Paul Scherrer Institute studying emergency dosimeters and the fundamental luminescence properties of common dosimetric materials. In 2022, he joined the Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation Group at the University of Michigan as a postdoctoral research fellow. Since early 2023, he is in charge of teaching and experiments at the LRS research reactor CROCUS.

Oskari has studied a wide range of applications of nuclear technology. For instance, he found that common face masks exhibit a luminescence response to ionizing radiation and face masks could therefore be used as dosimeters. He presented this work as a Science Slam at the EUROSAFE Forum 2021 and won the 2nd prize ETSON award. More recently, he led an effort to implement a real-time mixed-reality visualization technique to directly show radiation fields in 3D to a user wearing smart glasses.

Glenn F. Knoll Graduate Scholar Award

Vanessa Nadig is currently pursuing her PhD in the field of physics, more precisely medical imaging, at the Department of Physics of Molecular Imaging Systems (PMI) at RWTH Aachen University under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Volkmar Schulz and Dr. Stefan Gundacker. She obtained her Bachelor’s (2016) and Master’s degree (2019) in physics from RWTH Aachen University and spent one semester abroad at Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Université Paris Diderot in 2017.

Vanessa’s research enthusiasm focuses on advanced fast-timing detector technologies in positron emission tomography with the goal to upscale emerging readout techniques to system level. Working on this challenging task, she envisions to promote their applicability as future standard measures in early stage detection of life-threatening diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Vanessa is leading the project “ProtoTOF” funded by the Faculty of Medicine at RWTH Aachen University together with Dr. Gundacker. She and her research focus have been highlighted by the “Female Physicist of the Week” campaign of the German Physical Society in 2022.

Edward J. Hoffman Early Career Development Grant

Dr. Han Gyu Kang is a researcher at the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST) in Japan. He obtained his BS (2012), MS (2014), and Ph.D. (2018) degrees at Eulji University in South Korea under the supervision of Prof. Seong Jong Hong. Dr. Kang focused his research on SiPM-based TOF-DOI detectors and PET/MR scanners during his BS and MS courses. Over the course of his Ph.D., Dr. Kang developed a novel multimodal laparoscope, which led him to win the presidential prize from Eulji University twice (2016, 2017) and the award from the Deputy Prime Minister of Korea (2019).

In 2018, Dr. Kang has joined Yamaya-Lab at QST in Japan. Recently, Dr. Kang developed a submillimeter-resolution PET (SR-PET) scanner that can achieve a resolution approaching 0.5 mm for mouse brain imaging (2023 JNM). Dr. Kang optimized the SR-PET geometry and designed the front-end electronics, including the gantry. Dr. Kang has been collaborating with LMU for SIRMIO PET, Tohoku University for whole-gamma-imaging, and Nagoya University for particle beam imaging. The Hoffman Grant will greatly promote these collaborative works.

Since 2013, Dr. Kang has contributed to the IEEE MIC (5 orals, 25 posters), the GATE meeting (5 orals), and the STIR meeting (1 oral) as the first presenter. Dr. Kang has published 26 peer-reviewed papers (13 first authors, 1 corresponding author, and 12 co-authors) and a book chapter, including five patents. His current research interest is to achieve sub-0.5 mm PET resolution to unravel the brain function of disease model mice.

Robert J. Barker Graduate Student Award

Hao Sun received the Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University, China, in 2018, where he is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering with the Department of Electrical Engineering. Since 2017, he has conducted research under the guidance of Prof. Xinjie Yu in the field of pulsed power supplies. The pulsed power device he designed and built has a very high energy density, paving a brand-new possible way to the miniaturization of the special power supply. In addition, he also conducted in-depth research on inductive energy control and system modeling. He successfully decoupled the complex system from topological design, magnetic field calculation, energy flow and other aspects. By applying the machine learning method, he successfully presented a system-wide parameter optimization strategy for achieving the global optimal with an acceptable calculation capability. His work has been presented in over ten peer-reviewed journal publications. Hao Sun once served as the chairman of the department student union, the teaching assistant for the famous online course ‘Principles of Electric Circuits’ of Tsinghua university, the backbone of the university online teaching assistant team during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the member of the task force for several national/international conference.

Graduate Scholarship Awards

Alexander Meadows is a senior graduate student completing his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and performing research on laser-plasma interactions and advanced laser development at Colorado State University. He began in this field in 2012 while pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, where he joined the Texas Petawatt laser laboratory. This large laser facility served as the site of the experimental work for his master’s degree, which was based on research performed by irradiating ultrathin targets at extremely high intensities with an ultrashort laser pulse. In the following years, Alex also performed laser-plasma research at the Extreme Light Infrastructure project in Europe and worked in various precision optical production facilities on cutting-edge scientific products. Alex came to Colorado State University in 2017 and has worked on high average power and high peak power lasers for the production of extreme plasma states of matter. His doctoral work is based on the development of a few-cycle laser beamline for the irradiation of nanostructured solid targets at relativistic intensities of 1020 W/cm2 with pulses of 3-5 fs duration. This will create a dramatically different plasma environment than that in typical solid target laser experiments, with applications including the production of high-brightness x-ray sources, energetic collimated sources of ion and electron beams, and quasi-monoenergetic pulses of neutrons.

Nathan Giha joined the Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation Group as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, where he developed silicon photomultiplier readout electronics for compact neutron imaging systems. In Fall of 2019, he continued with the group as a Ph.D. student. His graduate research focuses on quantifying the relationship between the energy and angular momentum of fission fragments through correlated measurements of fragment properties and the prompt neutrons and gamma rays they emit.

Louis-Daniel Gaulin completed his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at the University of Sherbrooke and did COOP internships in electronic circuit design dedicated to positron emission tomography. He is now pursuing his master’s degree in applied sciences at the same institution where he is a pioneer in electronics dedicated to time-of-flight computed tomography. The objective of this electronics is to acquire the first ToF-CT image in order to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology with existing circuits on the market. More specifically, he designs very high speed, low noise printed circuit boards and electronic systems. In addition to his research, he is also a dedicated mentor for a robotics team, while helping his fellow students through volunteer academic support. Louis-Daniel has received numerous awards for his academic excellence, such as the Leonardo da Vinci award from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sherbrooke, as well as for his leadership and community involvement.

Ricardo Lopez graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with a B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences and then joined the Detection for Nuclear Nonproliferation research group while pursuing his master’s degree. After earning his M.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering in 2021, he continued with DNNG as a Ph.D. student where he works with a compact dual-particle imaging system for use in nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation applications. Ricardo has been able to publish work on an organic glass scintillator imager and has had his research recognized in various international conferences. Current and future work involves further improving the imaging system and developing an alternative method for imager data visualization using an augmented reality approach.

Ronald J. Jaszczak Graduate Award

Julien Rossignol completed his master’s thesis in electrical engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke in 2019. In this work, he pioneered and put the base on time-of-flight computed tomography, a research field in expansion today. Owing to the quality of his talks and to the novelty of the topic, Julien was awarded the Christopher J Thompson student award at the 2018 IEEE NSS/MIC. He is completing his Ph.D. at Université of Sherbrooke where he is trying to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the technique. His work generated three patents and numerous publications. His leadership has helped build the tome-of-flight team from a single student to more than fifteen currently. This leadership transcends the medical imaging community as Julien has found success in numerous endeavors to better communicate science, improve student quality of life and innovate in engineering education.