Thursday, January 19, 2012
Riccardo Betti, professor of mechanical engineering and physics, was honored for his work by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this past January in Washington, D.C. The ceremony included the eight other winners, which were announced by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Each winner received a gold medal, a citation, and $20,000.
Betti was recognized for a series of theoretical discoveries in the physics of inertial confinement fusion—in which nuclear fusion reactions are caused by heating and compressing pellets made of deuterium and tritium. His contributions also include seminal transformative work on thermonuclear ignition, hydrodynamic instabilities and implosion dynamics, and the development of innovative approaches to ignition and high energy gains.
“Ignition of thermonuclear fuel in the laboratory has been a 60-year long quest in the fusion science community,” says Betti. “Demonstrating ignition has important implications for energy and national security.”
The Lawrence Award was established in 1959 to honor the memory of Ernest Orlando Lawrence who invented the cyclotron (a particle accelerator), and after whom two major energy department laboratories in Berkeley and Livermore, California are named.