2004 International S&T Cooperation Award of People’s Republic of China
Prof Kenneth Gentle attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving an S.B. (1962) and Ph.D. (1966) in physics. He continued as an instructor there in 1966. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, Associate Professor in 1970, and Professor in 1976. In 1964, when he was 24, Gentle published a paper titled “Effect of Gas Flow on the Properties of a Plasma Column” in Nature. He received an Alfred Sloan Fellowship for 1973-75. He was appointed Josey Professor of Energy, 1986-88.
He continued to work on TEXT, engaging in a number of experiments on transport and heating, until the completion of the project in 1996. He has also conducted particle transport experiments on ASDEX as a guest of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Munich, in a collaboration begun in 1986.
His current transport research involves tokamak experiments using DIII-D at General Atomics, San Diego, CMOD at MIT, and HT-7 at Hefei, PRC. The research concentrates on energy transport by electrons, the most complex of the transport channels. Unique analyses of perturbations and transients have illuminated several novel phenomena. He is also conducting experiments on a new device, the Helimak, for fundamental studies of plasma turbulence in a comparatively simple geometry, the sheared, cylindrical slab.
He has served on a number of advisory committees and review panels for the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy. In 1989, he served on the Foreign Applied Sciences Assessment Center panel assessing the West European magnetic fusion program, writing the chapter on tokamaks. He is a member of the International Advisory Committee for EAST.
He was chairman of the physics department from January, 1997, until January, 2001, and has been Director of the Fusion Research Center since August, 1998.
Honors and Recognitions