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Auburn University physics professor serves as co-organizer of National Science Foundation workshop

Published: 01/31/2017

ed-thomasIn commemoration of the 20thanniversary of the National Science Foundation/Department of Energy Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering, from January 9-11, a workshop was held at NSF Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Auburn University Physics Professor Edward Thomas served as one of the three lead organizers of the workshop, which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Approximately 100 plasma scientists and engineers were invited to give oral and poster presentations on the diversity of research topics supported by the partnership. The goal of the three-day meeting was to celebrate 20 years of partnership and achievements, and to assess progress and challenges in the broad field of plasma science and engineering as encompassed by the scope of the NSF/DOE Partnership. Assisting Professor Thomas as lead organizers were Professor Ellen Zweibel from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Professor Jorge Rocca from Colorado State University.

Professor Thomas’ research activities in dusty/complex plasmas have been continuously supported by the NSF/DOE Partnership since its inception in 1997. Thomas is the Lawrence C. Wit professor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Charles W. Barkley Endowed Professor. He is the director of the Plasma Sciences Laboratory, associate editor of the Journal of Plasma Physics, member of the American Physical Society-Division of Plasma Physics Executive Committee, chair of the Advisory Committee for the Caribbean Green Technology Center at the University of the Virgin Islands, and a consultant for the non-profit organization-Quality Education for Minorities (QEM Network).

His current research in dusty/complex plasmas consists of transport and thermodynamics of dusty plasmas, the development and operation of a multi-user facility for magnetized dusty plasmas, and diagnostic development, waves and transport in microgravity complex plasmas. While working with dusty/complex plasmas, his research also involves plasma flows in magnetized plasmas, which include multi-scale studies of electrostatic instabilities in plasmas with sheared flows and properties of lower hybrid and electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves in laboratory and space plasmas. As of fall 2016, Professor Thomas has generated more than $7.15 million in external funding.

For more information on the NSF/DOE Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering Workshop, click here to visit the website.

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