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August 20, 1998

FPN98-27 Fusion Program Notes


Death of Boris Kadomtsev

Academician Boris B. Kadomtsev, pioneer researcher of the world fusion program and one of its most prolific scientists, passed away on August 18 in Moscow. At the time of his death he was Director of the Institute of Nuclear Fusion at the Russian Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute." An announcement from the Kurchatov stated, "We announce with great sadness that, after a long and severe illness, Academician B. Kadomtsev passed away on Tuesday 18 August 1998. This is an immense loss for his wife, Antonine, and his family, for the fusion community and for all of us. We have lost an outstanding physicist, one of the founders of thermonuclear plasma physics, one of the leaders of the Russian theoretical school, and a stalwart supporter of the ITER project. The funeral will take place in Moscow on 24th August. Messages of sympathy and condolences should be sent to the Russian Academy of Science and to the Kurchatov Institute and will be forwarded to the family." (RSC Kurchatov Institute, Kurchatov Square 1, 123182 Moscow, Russia; fax: 95-943-0073; email to G. Eliseev: geliss@qq.nfi.kiae.su).

Boris graduated in physics from Moscow University in 1951 and worked at the Institute of Physics and Energetics in Obninsk until 1956. In 1956 he joined M. A. Leontovich's theory group at Kurchatov Institute. In 1970 he became Acadamician of the USSR Academy of Sciences and was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in the same year. Since 1971 he also held a Chair of Plasma Physics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. In 1973, after the death of L. A. Artsimovich, he became Director of the fusion program at Kurchatov Institute. He was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1984. In 1990 he was presented with Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award. Recently, he was notified that he had been selected by the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics to be the recipient of its 1998 Maxwell Prize.

Boris was well known to fusion scientists throughout the world, not only for his key scientific contributions but also for his warm, outgoing personality and engaging human qualities. He was a man whom it was impossible not to love. Prineton scientist Paul Rutherford commented, "Boris Kadomtsev provided the inspirations to an entire generations of plasma theorists by his genius in applying the most advanced theoretical techniques to the most practical problems of actual fusion plasmass." Fred Ribe, former director of the U. S. fusion program at Los Alamos, said "I have the greatest admiration for Boris as a great scientist and an outstanding human being. I feel a personal loss." Livermore National Laboratory fusion pioneer Dick Post said, "All of us in the fusion community will miss him, as he consistently 'stayed the course' in fusion and contributed enormously to our field in all its aspects." MIT professor Bruno Coppi said, "His ability was truly exceptional. There are no words to express the depth of this loss." University of California professor emeritus Marshall Rosenbluth said, "There is a story told about a scientist who every day would look in his mirror and ask: 'Mirror, mirror on the wall,who is the smartest of us all?' But the image he saw was always of Boris! He was not only the smartest but one of the nicest, and a friend and colleague of total integrity." Tadashi Sekiguchi, Tokyo University professor emeritus, said "I have received with with the greatest sorrow the notification on Academician Boris Kadomtsev's death. He was really one of the giant theoretical leaders in our academic society and was yet a scientist of warmhearted personality. Together with my Japanese colleagues, I wish to present our deepest condolences toward his family." He speaks for us all.