Navratil Wins 2023 FPA Distinguished Career Award

Jul 17 2023

Gerald A. Navratil, the Thomas Alva Edison Professor of Applied Physics at Columbia Engineering, is a recipient of the Fusion Power Associates (FPA) 2023 Distinguished Career Award.

The FPA Board of Directors selected Professor Navratil in recognition of  his “nearly half-century of research and leadership contributions to plasma science and fusion energy, as well as to the education of a new generation of scientists.” His award letter goes on to state that the Board also noted his important “role in the establishment of the University Fusion Association” and his “lengthy service on the Fusion Power Associates Board of Directors, including two terms as Board Chair.”

Professor Navratil is internationally known for his work in the field of fusion energy and plasma physics and his research focuses on MHD equilibrium and stability of magnetically confined plasmas. He directs the U.S. Department of Energy funded HBT-EP tokamak experiment in the Columbia Plasma Physics Laboratory and as well as an off-campus collaboration at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego. 

Professor Navratil received his Bachelors degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1973 and his PhD in plasma physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. In 1977 he joined the faculty of Columbia University and in 1978 became a founding member of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, serving as department chair from 1988-1994 and from 1997-2000. He also served as Interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University from 2007-2009.

Professor Navratil was President of the University Fusion Association in 1991 and 2005-2006, and co-chair of the 2002 Fusion Energy Sciences Summer Study held at Snowmass. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of Fusion Power Associates in 1999 and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors 2007-2009 and  2018-2020.

Professor Navratil was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Physics in 1984, a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989, received the Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award in 2006, and received the American Physical Society’s John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research in 2007. He has served as host of many national advisory committees, including the U.S. ITER Project Technical Advisory Committee and the DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, among others. He also served as the Associate Editor for Physics of Fluids from 1987-1990 and Physics of Plasmas from 1994-2002.

The award will be presented to Professor Navratil at the Fusion Power Associates 44th Annual Meeting and Symposium, Pilot Plants for Fusion Power, from December 19-20, 2023, in Washington, DC.

A photo of Professor Gerald Navratil. He is standing in front of an experiment and smiling.

Gerald A. Navratil, the Thomas Alva Edison Professor of Applied Physics at Columbia Engineering

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