Russian fusion pioneer Vitali Shafranov passes.
Vitali Shafranov, a pioneer of the world fusion research effort, passed away on June 9, 2014. Vitali was born in 1929 and joined the Kurchatov Institute in 1951 after graduating from Moscow State University. He joined the theoretical group there under Academician M.A. Leontovich and began a distinguished career in fusion research. Many of the key theoretical foundations of fusion plasma physics bear his name, including the Kruskal-Shafranov criterion, the Grad-Shafranov equation, and the Shafranov shift.
His first work, with Leontovich, titled On the Stability of a Flexible Conductor in the Presence of a Magnetic Field (1952), provided the basis for the experimental fusion program that began in the Soviet Union under A.D. Sakharov to provide a plasma confinement geometry that included both a toroidal magnetic field and an inductive electric current, later called "tokamak." His subsequent contributions to fusion research are too numerous to even summarize.
The many honors he received included the Lenin Prize (1984), Academician (1997) and the Hannes Alfven Prize of the European Physical Society (2001). Condolences may be sent to his Russian colleagues via Vladimir Pastukhov: Pastukhov VP@nrcki.ru