Ronald Davidson

Ronald C. Davidson, former Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences who directed the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, died May 19, 2016

1 thought on “Ronald Davidson

  1. Masaaki Yamada

    Tribute to Ron Davidson
    I will remember Ron Davidson, not just for his vision and impact on the field of plama
    sciences, but also for his compassion and kind heart, which made him the center of the
    PPPL family.
    After the S-1 project was closed in late 1980’s, I tried to start up a new project
    called Magnetic Reconnection Experiment. The goal of this project was a realization of
    the magnetic reconnection process in laboratory plasma. I thought this experiment was a
    key to the understanding of the basic plasma process as well as for astrophysical science,
    but I had difficulty in receiving support from the DoE science office.
    After Ron listened to my arguments, he decided to support this program from the
    Director’s contingency fund in early 90’s. Furthermore he accompanied me when I
    visited the Naval Research Office and National Science Foundation to get their support.
    His presence greatly helped me in convincing the program officers because he had great
    credibility there and a broad point of view to support fundamental science.
    As a result of his support, four agencies, NSF, Navy, NASA and DoE decided to
    support this program. This was a first time PPPL ever received support for a project from
    4 agencies. His vision in starting this trend eventually resulted in PPPL building a system
    to encourage new initiatives for starting novel projects. As a direct result of this support,
    the MRX project generated more than two-dozen highest rated publications from 1995 to
    2016 and many APS Prizes and Awards to many members of the team. Without Ron’s
    backing in the early days and his vision into the potential of these sorts of projects, none
    of this would have been possible. He was always really proud of that he had seen the
    potential of our program.
    Our Team’s success is due to his broad science vision as well his supportive, kind and
    generous heart. I will truly miss Ron.
    Masaaki Yamada, PPPL

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