Fusion Power Associates
2 Professional Drive, Suite 248
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
phone: (301) 258-0545
fax: (301) 975-9869
e-mail: FusionPwrAssoc@aol.com
web: http://fusionpower.org

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In Memoriam: Bill Barr and Torkil Jensen

May 11, 2004

The U. S. fusion community lost two of its early researchers recently, Bill Barr (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and Torkil Jensen (General Atomics).

Bill Barr died April 6 at age 79. He served in the U. S. army in World War II and participated in the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. He was later wounded by a German hand grenade and received the Purple Heart. After completing a BS in Physics at the University of Washington and a Ph.D. at UC-Berkeley, he joined LLNL in 1957 and was a key research scientist there throughout his career. He specialized in developing diagnostics and making careful measurements on a series of magnetic mirror devices. He later worked on tokamak edge physics. He had a close working relationship with many, including Ralph Moir, Dick Post and Kiyoshi Yoshikawa (Kyoto University). He retired in 1989, but continued working at LLNL part time until 1995.

Torkil Jensen died May 1 in San Diego after a long bout with cancer. He was 72. Torkil was born and educated in Denmark. After being drafted into the Danish army, he was assigned to work at a new facility in Riso of the Danish Atomic Energy Commission, where he worked with the plasma physics group. He spent two years at General Atomics as a visiting scientist beginning in 1960 and later returned there permanently in 1964. He performed pioneering work on non-circular cross section plasma devices with Tihiro Ohkawa, making fundamental contributions in the areas of plasma equilibrium and stability. His passion for physics made him a great teacher and mentor, especially to the large number of new fusion scientists who entered the field during its rapid expansion in the mid-1970s. He had a close working relationship with many, including John Gilleland, Ron Stambaugh and Masaji Yoshikawa (JAERI).

The fusion community will be ever grateful for their many contributions to the field.