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HAROLD P. FURTH January 13, 1 930-February 21, 2002 BY T. KENNETH FOWLER HAROED FURTH, AN AMERICAN giant in the worIcl of fusion research, flier! of heart failure in Philaclelphia on February 2l, 2002. He is burial in Princeton, where he spent most of his career at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory. Haroic! en c! I were collaborators in the pursuit of fusion energy, at Princeton in his case, at Livermore in mine. I am cleeply saciclenecl by his cleath en cl honored to be the one to record his career for the National Academy of Sciences. HaroIcl was electecl to the Academy in 1976 for his many achievements in plasma physics, the underlying discipline for the magnetic confinement approach to harness nuclear fusion energy. From graduate school clays HaroIcl's forte was a creep unclerstancling of magnetic fielcis, one of the areas in which plasma physics has enriched other disciplines, especially astrophysics. This served him well in his fusion career, in inventing new concepts en c! in unclerstancling the ultimately successful tokamak involving in part currents created by the plasma itself. ("Tokamak" is a Russian acronym for a nuclear fusion crevice in which a plasma is confiner! in a toroicial tube by a magnetic fielcI.) Harold's main contribution to magnetic fusion research 35
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36 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS was the tokamak fusion test reactor (TFTR), which he proposal in 1973, en cl which proviclecl the first definitive demonstration of controllecl fusion energy in 1993-94, pro- clucing 10 megawatts of fusion power for about one seconc! in a plasma of equal parts deuterium and tritium, the DT fuel of future fusion reactors. It was HaroIcl who conceived the design concept that won the project for Princeton, en c! it was he who lecl the project to success, first as chief scientist and finally as director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1981 until he stepper! clown for meclical reasons in 1990. The TFTR is far en cl away the most important accom- plishment in the 50-year history of magnetic fusion research in the Unitecl States. The origin of TFTR in 1973, finally approval for construction in 1976, was a milestone in HaroIcl's career. At the time, magnetic fusion was an emerging research program following early success with tokamaks in the Soviet Union en cl a sequel at Princeton. New management at the Atomic Energy Commission, seeing an opportunity for ~ .. . .. . ~ .. .. 1 1 , lunching In tne wake or tne Ott crisis of that time, was cleter- minecl to embark on a tokamak experiment with actual DT fusion reactions, not just a simulation with ordinary hyciro- gen plasmas as in all past experiments, the nearer to a power reactor the better. Young physicists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory rose to the challenge, while Princeton worried whether a facility with radioactive tritium was com- patible with the campus environment, and all of us were concerned that the Oak Ridge proposal was too much to tackle. Things came to a heacl at a meeting I attenclecl in Washing- ton in late 1973. By then Haroic! was prepared. One issue was leakage of heat through electrons, most mysterious of the many mysteries plasmas hoIcI, en cl something HaroIcl hac! hoper! to ens! run a theme he continued to pursue in
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HAROLD P. FURTH 37 his defense of TFTR in the late 199Os as the place to stucly direct heating of DT ions by the energetic alpha particles proclucecl by fusion reactions without recourse to electrons as the intermediary. Along this line in 1971 HaroicI, John Dawson, en cl Frecl Tenney publishecl a paper about a concept, callecl the two-component torus, whereby fusion energy wouIcl be proclucec! clirectly by fusion reactions of energetic neutral beams with ions in a plasma, again without the neecl to heat electrons to fusion-reaction temperatures. At a crucial point in the meeting after the attendees hac! begun to accept something less than ignition as the goal, HaroIcl went to the board, saying, "If that's all you want." He then outlinecl the TFTR proposal that lee! in 1986 to a new recorc! tempera- ture of 200 million degrees Celsius, en cl in December 1993 to more than 6 megawatts of fusion power for a second or so, en c! the design goal of 10 megawatts a few months later. HaroIcl Furth was born in Vienna, Austria, on January 13, 1930. After studying at the Ecole Internationale in Geneva he immigrates! in 1941 with his parents to the Uniter! States, where he gracluatecl at the heacl of his class from the Hill School in 1947. He then entered Harvard University, where he completer! graduate studies in 1956, with an intervening year at Cornell. His introduction to physics came through his experiments identifying cosmic rays in photographic emulsions permeates! by high magnetic fielcis. After Harvard HaroIcl workocl at the University of Cali- fornia Racliation Laboratory at Berkeley en cl Livermore from 1956 to 1967. There he soon began the fruitful collaboration with Stirling Colgate that lecl to HaroIcl's first experimental work on plasma confinement devices that might eventually serve as fusion reactors, initially in a linear pinch in which the mutual attraction of parallel currents in a plasma applies a constricting force that confines the plasma column. Insta- bility of the pinch had inspired an improved version with
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38 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS an externally applied magnetic field parallel to the current. When this too exhibited unstable turbulence, probably clue to plasma resistivity omitted in the theory, Furth en cl Colgate proceeclec! in a totally different direction with the invention of the levitron, a large conclucting ring levitatecl in space en cl charged with a current that proviclecl confinement for a plasma surrounding the ring, without resort to the internal force of plasma currents usecl in the pinch crevice. HaroIcl later constructed a levitron callecl FM-] at Princeton. Meanwhile, the importance of resistivity not lost on him. HaroIcl proviclecl the conceptual basis for a theory of resis- tive instabilities in magnetically confined plasmas, publishecl jointly with John Killeen en c! Marshall Rosenbluth in 1963. Characteristically HaroIcl hacl been able to visualize what happens when twisting plasma columns in turn twist magnetic field! lines embeciclec! in them, causing localizes! sheet currents neeclecl to prevent the tearing en cl reconnection of the fielcl lines. Resistivity clestroys these sheet currents, allowing tearing to happen, at a rate enhancer! by the thinness of the sheet currents. Resistive instability turned out to play an impor- tant role in natural phenomena, such as the Earth's magneto- taiT and other aspects of solar physics and cosmology. Applying resistive instability theory in this way was an early example of cross-fertilization of plasma physics Earned from fusion research with other fielcis of science. During a year-Ion" workshop at Trieste in 1965-66, HaroIcl joined Soviet colleagues Roalcl Sagcleev en cl Alex Galeev in showing how Coulomb collisions among plasma particles could transport them across the magnetic field of devices like the Soviet tokamak much faster than they couIcl in icleaTizec! moclels, by virtue of complicates! particle orbits in the twisted magnetic fielcl of the tokamak. It was Furth who dubbed these distorted orbits "bananas," as he had pictured them in thinking through the transport process, now caller!
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HAROLD P. FURTH 39 neoclassical transport. While neoclassical transport clegracles heat confinement of the ions, it also later became the basis for others to predict en cl then measure the self-generatecl "bootstrap" current in tokamaks that greatly climinishec! the requirement for external power to maintain the current in a steacly-state tokamak. After arriving at Princeton in 1967 as professor of astro- physical sciences en cl co-heacl of the Experimental Division at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, HaroIcl assumed leaclership in planning new experiments, shortly before the breakthrough announcement in 1968 that the Soviets hacl achieved a record temperature of 10 million degrees Celsius in one of the tokamak crevices caller! T-3. Haroic! first clic! not believe the Soviet claims, blaming the results on run- away electrons that clicl eventually prove to be the explanation of another crevice touter! by the Soviets, caller! TM-3. Once convinced HaroIcl quickly lecl the Princeton labo- ratory toward proposals for three tokamaks, one by converting their largest stellerator into a tokamak en c! two new crevices- the adiabatic toroicial compressor that wouIcl provide acicli- tional heating by squeezing the plasma, en cl the Princeton large torus (PLT) in which the plasma wouic! be heater! by neutral beams created by accelerating ions to the energies required for fusion en cl then neutralizing them in flight, to be captures! in the plasma when they become ionizer! again by collisions with plasma electrons en cl ions. All three pro- posals were funded by the government, leading to a quick confirmation of the Soviet results at Princeton in 1970 en c! record tokamak temperatures exceeding 60 million degrees Celsius sufficient for fusion ignition in the PLT in 1978. Harold never stopped inventing improved magnetic con- figurations, such as the bean-shaped tokamak with improved stability properties (PBX-M) in 1985, and the spheromak that is totally self-generated by currents inside the plasma.
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40 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS After TFTR began experiments with real cleuterium en c! tritium (DT) fuel, HaroIcl also pursuccl new ways to enhance fusion power procluction without relying solely on thermal reactions in a DT plasma with equilibrates! temperatures among all particle constituents. Even before becoming the director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Haroic! hac! emerges! as the intellectual leacler of magnetic fusion research in the Unitecl States en cl a tireless acivocate for fusion energy. The esteem accorclec! him by colleagues is evident in remarks at a memorial service at Princeton a few months after his cleath. "HaroIcl Furth was a special person, in a special place, at a special time," notes! Anne Davies, current director of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences at the Department of Energy. "Scintillating" is the worcl Marshall Rosenbluth chose to describe HaroicI. "When he came into a room or joiner! a discussion, the air fairly cracklecl with wit, logic, scientific insight, en cl forceful leaclership. Everybocly's creativity level went up in an effort to keep up with HaroicI." HaroIcl's protege en cl currently director of the Princeton laboratory, Rob GoIciston, spoke for most of us. "HaroIcl was a giant of fusion science, a person of untiring energy en cl bouncIless optimism. He buoyocl all of us. HaroIcl lecl the U.S. fusion program to tremendous growth in the 1970's en c! 1980's. IncleecI, many of the scientific accomplishments even in the 1990's are the result of his leaclership. We will all miss him." As in everything else he touched, Harold was a bril- liantly successful laboratory director and an influential, respected leader in the international fusion community. Perhaps his greatest disappointment as director was a failure to procure funcling for the compact ignition tokamak (CIT) as a follow-on to TFTR and, as the name implies, the first demonstration of a plasma that burner! by itself. Haroic!
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HAROLD P. FURTH 41 hac! garnered! strong support from the U.S. fusion commu- nity, but as Washington en cl the public lost interest in energy in the 1980s, CIT was not to be, despite strong recommencia- tions for a revival of the iclea by the Fusion Policy Advisory Committee of 1990, chaired by Guy Stever. That committee clicl recommencl immediate funcling for DT operation in TFTR, Tong clelayocI, en c! that was clone, as relater! above. HaroIcl was a revered mentor en cl colleague of young scientists, inclucling experimentalist Rob GoIciston, theorist Nathaniel Fisch, en c! many others. He hell! some 20 patents, primarily in the areas of controllecl magnetic fusion tech- nology en cl metal forming with puIsecl magnetic fielcis. He publisher! over 190 technical papers. HaroIcl served on numerous government committees over the years en cl on scientific advisory committees at other laboratories, inclucling the Max Planck Geselischaft. He server! on the Board of Editors for the following journals: Nuclear Fusion, Plasma Physics en c! Con tro]]ec! Fusion, Journal of Fusion Energy, Reviews of Modern Physics, en c! Physics of F]uicis At the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council he was a member of the Board on Physics en c! Astronomy of the Division on Engineering en c! Physical Sciences. HaroIcl was a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, en cl the American Academy of Arts en cl Sciences. He received the E. O. Lawrence Memorial Awarcl from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in ~ 974, the James Clerk Maxwell Awarc! from the American Physical Society in ~ 983, the Joseph Priestly Awarcl from Dickinson College in 1985, en cl the Delmer S. Fahrney Mecial from the Committee on Science en cl the Arts of the Franklin Institute in 1992. On a personal level HaroIcl will long be remembered
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42 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS for his engaging wit, always kinc! if a little irreverent. It is fitting to conclucle with an example, written in his twenties when he first came to Livermore prior to his later move to Princeton. This was his poem about Edward! Teller that was publishecl in The New Yorker magazine in 1956, reprinted in Teller's Memoirs: Perils of Moclern Living Well up beyond the tropostrata There is a region stark en cl stellar Where, on a streak of anti-matter, Liver! Dr. Edward! Anti-Teller. Remote from Fusion's origin, He liver! unguessec! en c! unawares With all his anti-kith en cl kin, An cl kept macassars on his chairs. One morning, idling by the sea, He spiecl a tin of monstrous girth That bore three letters: A.E.C. Out stepped a visitor from Earth. Then, shouting glacITy o'er the sancis, Met two who in their alien ways Were like as lentils. Their right hands Clasped, and the rest was gamma rays. I WISH TO THANK colleagues quoted in this memoir and to express appreciation for much assistance from Dolores Lawson of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
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HAROLD P. FURTH SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 1955 Magnetic analysis of scattering particles. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 26:1097. 1956 43 With R. W. Waniek. Production and use of high transient magnetic fields. I. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 27:195. 1957 With M. Levine and R. W. Waniek. Production and use of high transient magnetic fields. II. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 28:949. 1958 With O. A. Anderson, W. R. Baker, S. A. Colgate, J. Ise, Jr., R. V. Pyle, and R. E. Wright. Neutron production in linear deuterium pinches. Phys. Rev. 109:612. With S. A. Colgate and J. P. Ferguson. The stabilized pinch. Proceed- ings of the Second United Nations International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Geneva 32:129. 1959 With D. H. Birdsall. Pulsed 200 kilogauss magnet for accelerator experiments. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 30:600. 1962 With M. A. Levine. Force-free coils and superconductors. 7. Appl. Phys. 33:747. 1963 With J. Killeen and M. N. Rosenbluth. Finite-resistivity instabilities of a sheet pinch. Phys. Fluids 6:459. Existence of mirror machines stable against interchange modes. Phys. Rev. Lett. 11:308. 1966 With D. H. Birdsall, R. J. Briggs, S. A. Colgate, and C. W. Hartman. Shear stabilization in the levitron. Proceedings 2nd International
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44 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS Conference on Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research, Culham, England, IAEA, Vienna 2:291. 1969 With A. A. Galeev, R. Z. Sagdeev, and M. N. Rosenbluth. Plasma diffusion in a toroidal stellerator. Phys. Rev. Lett. 22:511. 1970 With S. Yoshikawa. Adiabatic compression of a tokamak discharge. Phys. Fluids 13:2593. 1971 With T. M. Dawson and F. H. Tenney. Production of thermonuclear power by non-Maxwellian ions in a closed magnetic field con- figuration. Phys. Rev. Lett. 26:1156. 1975 Tokamak research. Nu cl. Fusion 15:487. 1977 With A. H. Glasser and P. H. Rutherford. Stabilization of resistive kink modes in the tokamak. Phys. Rev. Lett. 38:234. 1978 With V. Arunasalam et al. Recent results from the PLT tokamak. Controlled Fusion and Plasma Physics (Proceedings of the 8th European Conference, Prague, 1 978J, Czechoslovakia Academy of Sciences 2:17. 1981 With M. Yamada, W. Hsu, A. Janos, S. Jardin, M. Okabayashi, J. Sinnis, T. H. Stix, and K. Yamazaki. Quasistatic formation of the spheromak plasma configuration. Phys. Rev. Lett. 46:188. The tokamak. In Fusion, ed. E. Teller, vol. I, part A, chapter 3. New York: Academic Press. 1983 Compact tori. Nu cl. Instrum. Methods 207:93.
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HAROLD P. FURTH 1984 45 With P. C. Efthimion et al. Initial confinement studies of ohmically heated plasmas in the tokamak fusion test reactor. Phys. Rev. Lett. 52:1492. 1986 With M. Murakami et al. Confinement studies of neutral beam heated discharges in TFTR. Plasma Phys. Controlled Fusion 28:17. 1 989 Objectives of the CIT project. 7. Fusion Energy 8:28. 1992 With R. J. Hawryluk et al. Status and plans for TFTR. Fusion Technol. 21:1324. 1994 With J. D. Strachan et al. Fusion power production from TFTR plasmas fueled with deuterium and tritium. Phys. Rev. Lett. 72:3526. With R. J. Hawryluk et al. Confinement and heating of a deuterium- tritium plasma. Phys. Rev. Lett. 72:3530. With R. J. Hawryluk et al. Review of recent D-T experiments from TFTR. Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research (Seville, Spain, 1994J IAEA,Viennal:ll.
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