The IOP-SFP Holweck Prize 2019 awarded to Xavier Garbet

CEA-Research Institute of research on controlled magnetic fusion (IRFM), Cadarache, France.

Xavier Garbet, 58 ans, CEA research director, is a worldwide leading theoreticians on tokamak plasmas. He has been and is a visionary for developing the framework of large scale direct simulations of turbulence in magnetized (fusion) plasmas in Europe and France. He has casted the theoretical foundations of the ‘gyrokinetic’ theory, with few international colleagues, bringing together and renewing the connections with non linear physics (non local transport, …), statistical physics (entropy production…), astrophysics and space plasma physics, for an accurate, pertinent and efficient description of the non linear mechanisms at play.

His expertise covers a broad range of nonlinear issues in hot magnetized plasmas, from micro-turbulence to large-scale MHD (magneto-hydrodynamic) modes and collisional processes, starting in the late 80's, before the advent of massive parallel computing facilities, pioneering works on new types of plasma instabilities and transport mechanisms, which are now recognized as critical processes in fusion plasmas.

Recently, two out of several major contributions deserve being pointed out. He derived the general formulation of the entropy production rate for tokamak relevant turbulence, hence providing a rigorous way to define thermodynamical forces and fluxes.

In the context of impurity transport which has gained a renewed interest with the tungsten wall of ITER, he then revisited the so-called neoclassical transport theory within the gyrokinetic description, both in axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric magnetic equilibria. He has early identified the pivotal role of performant numerical schemes and codes for scientific research, building up a glimpse of the future such as creating and leading the transport modelling task force at JET (Joint European Torus) in 2001-2004, and his decisive commitment to the G8-driven international ANR project Nu-FuSE (2010-2014), standing for "Nuclear Fusion Simulations at Exascale".

He is promoting and actively contributing to the openness of plasma physics towards the other fields in physics.Xavier Garbet is the cofounder, with Prof. P.H. Diamond (UCSD, USA) and Dr. P. Ghendrih (DR CEA, Cadarache) of the international "Festival de Théorie", which gathers every two years since 2001, for 3 and since 2017 4 weeks in Aix-en-Provence, researchers in the fields that share a common interest in the nonlinear dynamics of magnetized plasmas and fluid dynamics in fusion research, astrophysics, geophysics and applied mathematics. The Festival has acquired an international reputation for its singular format, and its training program provided by the best researchers worldwide. It has sprung up in China which had organized its first Theory Festival in August 2018.

He and his group (‘French school of plasma turbulence’) hold a leading position in the field, acknowledged by his review papers, review talks in large conferences as well as interdisciplinary schools and workshops, involvement in scientific councils, international collaborations, leadership of European projects.

Finally, he has been appointed member of more than 20 scientific councils around the world, the most recent one being the Eurofusion Scientific & Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) from 2016 to 2018, acting as chair of the Ad-Hoc Group “ITER Physics" since 2017. His research activities remain extremely active together with his numerous public duties. 

The 2019 Holweck lecture was presented by Xavier Garbet on November 18th at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK. The joint IoP- SFP prize ceremony took place at the IOP Awards Dinner on November 19th in London".


The Holweck Prize

This award was instituted in 1945, jointly by the French and British Physical Societies as a memorial to Fernand Holweck, Director of the Curie Laboratory of the Radium Institute in Paris, who was tortured and killed by the Gestapo during the occupation of France 1940-44.

The award is made in alternate years by the Councils of one of the two societies to a physicist selected from a list of nominees submitted by the other. The prize distinguishes exceptional work in any aspect of physics that is ongoing or has been carried out within the 10 years preceding the award.

The SFP and the IOP are proud to announce the 2019 award.

List of Holweck laureates

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