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In memoriam: fusion pioneer John Dawson.

Professor John M. Dawson of the UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX
 Physics Department passed away in his sleep early Saturday morning, November 17, 2001 at the age of 71. John was a leading figure in the plasma physics Noun 1. plasma physics - the branch of physics concerned with matter in its plasma phase
natural philosophy, physics - the science of matter and energy and their interactions; "his favorite subject was physics"
 community for more than four decades, and beloved by hundreds of colleagues, students and friends. He had successfully overcome life-threatening illnesses several times in his life. Recently he had been in improving health and had enjoyed being able to return to attending the American Physical Society The American Physical Society was founded in 1899 and is the world's second largest organization of physicists. The Society publishes more than a dozen science journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than twenty science  Division of Plasma Physics meeting m Long Beach. He was noted for his innovative mind, which was active to the end. He took great pleasure in discussing physics with colleagues, in the continued success of his former students and post-docs, and in the amazing progress being made in particle simulations of plasmas.

John was a true humanitarian who believed that science was still the most noble of professions. He was particularly proud of his invention of an isotope separation Isotope separation

The physical separation of different isotopes of an element from one another. The different isotopes of an element as it occurs in nature may have similar chemical properties but completely different nuclear reaction properties.
 process that was used to save many lives from cancer. He was the recipient of the Maxwell prize and the Aneesur Rahman prize. These two prizes are the highest honors in the plasma physics and computational physics Computational physics is the study and implementation of numerical algorithms in order to solve problems in physics for which a quantitative theory already exists. It is often regarded as a subdiscipline of theoretical physics but some consider it an intermediate branch between  divisions of the American Physical Society. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was an Individual Affiliate of Fusion Power Associates.

John's contributions to science span all of plasma physics. He worked on magnetic fusion, inertial confinement fusion Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is a process where nuclear fusion reactions are initiated by heating and compressing a fuel target, typically in the form of a pellet that most often contains a mixture of deuterium and tritium. , space plasmas, plasma astrophysics astrophysics, application of the theories and methods of physics to the study of stellar structure, stellar evolution, the origin of the solar system, and related problems of cosmology. , free electron lasers, and basic plasma physics. He is considered the father of plasma-based accelerators as well as the father of computer simulation of plasmas. While others have made pioneering contributions to particle simulations, it was John who developed this into a third discipline of research by showing how powerful a tool it could be. He was a mentor to several generations of plasma physicists and touched countless others with his generously shared physical insight, his bounty of new ideas and his encouragement of others. He spent a good portion of his early career at Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory.

A small memorial service is planned for Saturday, December 1, for information contact Andrea Johnson at 310-825-3440. A larger celebration of John's life and career will be held on the UCLA campus early next year. Condolences can be sent to the family at 359 Arno Way, Pacific Palisades Palisades, cliffs along the west bank of the Hudson River, NE N.J. and SE N.Y., extending from N of Jersey City, N.J., to the vicinity of Piermont, N.Y., with a general altitude of from 350 ft to 550 ft (107–168 m). , CA 90272. As a result of interest from friends and colleagues, a scholarship/student award fund is being created in John's name. Contributions can be sent to "The John Dawson Memorial Fund/U.C. Regents" do Andrea Johnson, UCLA Physics Dept., LA, CA 90095.

The above obit was largely written by Warren Mori []
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Publication:Fusion Power Report
Date:Nov 1, 2001
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