Plenary Panel on the History of PSAC, ICOPS, and TPS
Chair: Steven H. Gold
On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of ICOPS, this Panel will discuss the history of the NPSS Plasma Science and Applications Committee (PSAC), the IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS), and the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science (TPS). Four distinguished speakers will join the Chair in presenting their thoughts and recollections on this topic.
Panelists for the ICOPS 2023
50th Anniversary Celebration:
Steven H. Gold
Retired Naval Research Lab
Dr. Steven H. Gold received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland in 1978, and became a research physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory, where he continued to work until his retirement in 2015 as the Senior Research Scientist for Radiation Generation Physics in the Beam Physics Branch. His research interests have included high power microwave source development, advanced accelerator R&D, and free-electron lasers.
He was Technical Chair of ICOPS 2011 in Chicago and Financial Chair of ICOPS 2014 in Washington, DC. He has served three 3-year terms on the Executive Committee of the NPSS Plasma Science and Applications Committee, including two years as Vice Chair, and the past 22 years as Secretary of PSAC, and also served for 20 years as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Plasma.
In addition, he has served for the past 19½ years on the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He received the 2008 NPSS Richard F. Shea Distinguished Member Award “For outstanding contributions to the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society and its Plasma Science and Applications Technical Committee.”
James N. Benford
President, Microwave Sciences, Inc.
Dr. James N. Benford received a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Oklahoma in 1963, the Masters degree in 1965 and Ph.D. degree in 1969 in physics from the University of California, San Diego, where his thesis was in experimental plasma physics.
He worked at Physics International for 27 years, and then founded Microwave Sciences, of which he is currently President. He has taught 26 courses in High Power Microwaves in 10 countries. He co-authored High Power Microwaves, a textbook in general use for 32 years, and is now working on the 4th Edition.
He co-edited Starship Century, dealing with the prospect of star travel. He has flown lightweight sails on a microwave beam in the laboratory. He is an advisor to the Breakthrough Foundation, working on the Starshot interstellar probe project. He was a member of ExCom for three 3-year terms and served as Vice-Chair for one year, and was Chair of the 17th ICOPS in Oakland California in 1990. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and an EMP fellow.
Steven J. Gitomer
Retired Los Alamos National Labs
Dr. Steven J. Gitomer received his Bachelors & Masters degrees from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Maryland USA, and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin USA, all in Electrical Engineering with specialization in Plasma Physics. He was on the faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA USA, before joining the technical staff of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, New Mexico USA) for a more than 30 year career of plasma physics research, scientific advice to the US government, and project management. During his time at Los Alamos, he began serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the publication, the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science (TPS). Upon retirement from Los Alamos, he worked for the US Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF-Global) on non-proliferation topics, and served as Program Director for plasma physics at the US National Science Foundation.
He is an avid cyclist, world traveler, active volunteer, devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was one of the founding members of Plasma Science and Applications Committee (PSAC), second Chair of the PSAC Executive Committee (ExCom) in 1977–8, Chair of the 8th ICOPS in Santa Fe in 1981, and has been Editor-in-Chief of TPS since 1984. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE.
Mary Ann Sweeney
Sandia National Laboratories
Dr. Mary Ann Sweeney is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in Sandia National Laboratories’ Pulsed Power Sciences Center. She joined Sandia in 1974 after receiving an astronomy PhD from Columbia University. Her research has included target and reactor chamber simulations for ICF, shielding designs for particle beam accelerators, and response of materials, electronics, and diagnostics to beams and radiation. At Sandia, she was chief theorist for plasma opening switch research and program manager for activities related to the objective to achieve ignition on LLNL’s NIF.
She spent 2 years at the National Nuclear Security Administration in ICF and high energy density physics and subsequently was editor-in-chief of the annual NNSA/DOE Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan for 6 years. She is currently a point of contact to NNSA and the external scientific community to increase exposure of Sandia’s technical achievements.
Mary Ann is an IEEE Life Fellow and attended her first ICOPS in 1975. She has served on the PSAC Executive Committee, including as Chairman in 1989 and 1990, and was the originator of the PSAC Special Award. From 1987-1989 she was Secretary of the IEEE NPSS Administrative Committee. She was Technical Program Chairman of ICOPS 2018 (Denver) and 2020 (Singapore).
KIT Distinguished Senior Fellow
Prof. Manfred Thumm received the Dipl.-Phys. and Dr. rer. nat. Degrees in Physics from the University of Tübingen, Germany in 1972 and 1976, respectively. After 14 years of research on high-β Belt-Pinch plasmas as well as on oversized transmission lines and mode converters for ECRH fusion plasma heating at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, he became a Full Professor at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany in 1990 and Head of the Gyrotron Development Division at Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. There, from 1999 –2011, he was Director of the Institute for Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology.
In 2009, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was founded. Currently, Prof. Thumm is a KIT Distinguished Senior Fellow. His research projects include mm-wave and THz gyrotrons, FEMs, diamond windows, transmission lines, mode converters and antennas for plasma heating, materials processing and spectroscopy. He has authored/co-authored 8 books, 22 book-chapters, 630 peer-reviewed journal papers, 1690 conference articles, and 14 patents. He served on the PSAC ExCom for two 3-year terms and chaired the 35th ICOPS in Karlsruhe Germany in 2008. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE.