Ian H. Hutchinson, a Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the recipient of the 2022 Ronald C. Davidson Award for Plasma Physics. Professor Ian Hutchinson received his Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from the Australian National University in 1976. Since 1983, he has been a Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received three awards recognizing excellence in teaching, in 1988, 1999, and 2013. He directed the Alcator tokamak project from 1987 to 2003 and served as Head of the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering from 2003 to 2009.
Professor Hutchinson has made pioneering contributions to many areas of plasma physics, including tokamak behavior, the fundamental theory of flowing plasma interacting with embedded objects, and electron-hole kinematics. Dr. Hutchinson is widely known for his definitive textbook on measuring plasmas: Principles of Plasma Diagnostics,1 and has also authored books on the relationship between science and faith2,3 and on numerical methods.4 He has served on numerous national review panels for fusion energy research, was a member of the editorial boards of several journals, including Physics of Fluids B, and was Editor-in-Chief of the Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion from 2002 to 2004. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and Fellow of the Institute of Physics. In 2008, he served as Chair of the APS Division of Plasma Physics.
Members of the Editorial Board of the Physics of Plasmas selected Professor Ian Hutchinson as the 2022 recipient of the Ronald C. Davidson Award for Plasmas Physics from among the most highly cited and most highly downloaded articles from Physics of Plasmas during the past five years. The citation for this year's award to Ian Hutchinson reads:
In recognition of outstanding plasma physics research by a Physics of Plasmas Author as evidenced by
“Electron holes in phase space: What they are and why they matter,” Physics of Plasmas, 24, 055601 (2017).
The award paper5 presented a tutorial and selective review of the fundamentals and the open questions regarding electron holes in plasmas. Electron holes are self-consistent regions in electron phase space with a local shortfall of density. They are found in laboratory experiments, detected with spacecraft, and seen in detail using numerical simulation. Hutchinson's investigations of electron holes were motivated by his early measurements of tokamak phenomena, which required understanding how plasma flows past obstacles. Hutchinson and his students showed how the wake from an object immersed in a flowing magnetized plasma can excite instabilities that create electron holes.6 Hole-generating wakes form as the solar wind flows past the moon or from probes inserted into tokamaks. Hutchinson then went on to describe the kinematics of electron holes,7,8 the transverse instability of holes,9 and the coupling of holes to other plasma modes.10 Hutchinson's recent works on electron-hole physics include papers on electron-phase space holes near the Earth's moon,11 statistical analysis of electron holes detected by the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft,12 multidimensional electron holes in magnetized plasma,13,14 and the physics of slow electron holes.15 In recognition of this year's Ronald C. Davidson Award in Plasma Physics, Hutchinson revisited the theory of electrostatic solitary waves and presented new insights into ion hole equilibrium as rigid entities with long lifetimes that make possible their detection by spacecraft.16
This year's award selection committee, consisting of Alex Lazarian (APS-DPP Representative), Scott Baalrud, Elena Belova, Xavier Garbet, and John Verboncoeur from the Physics of Plasmas Editorial Board, reviewed the top-cited articles and nominated several authors from across the topical focus areas of Physics of Plasmas. The final selection was made by vote of the full Editorial Board.
The Ronald C. Davidson Award for Plasma Physics is provided by AIP Publishing in honor of Ronald Davidson's exceptional contributions as Editor-in-Chief of Physics of Plasmas for 25 years. The annual award is presented in collaboration with the APS Division of Plasma Physics and recognizes outstanding plasma physics research by a Physics of Plasmas author.
Conflict of Interest
The author has no conflicts to disclose.