Ronald C. Davidson, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1978, has been named director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Funded by the United States Department of Energy, PPPL operates on an annual budget of nearly $100 million. Research at the laboratory focuses on the creation of energy from the fusion of hydrogen nuclei confined by magnetic fields. Davidson's new position began on January 1.
Davidson joined the physics faculty of MIT in 1978, and directed MIT's Plasma Fusion Center from 1978 to 1988. He has made fundamental theoretical contributions to several areas of pure and applied plasma physics, including nonlinear plasma theory, nonneutral plasma theory, and advanced accelerator concepts.
Davidson earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1966. >From 1968 until joining MIT, he taught physics at the University of Maryland at College Park. In 1974 and 1975, Davidson was visiting senior scientist at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and chaired its Plasma Physics Division in 1983-84. In 1986 he received DOE's Distinguished Associate Award as well as its Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award.