Physics Professor Michael Brown
Receives American Physical Society Award
by Stacey Kutish
Associate Professor of Physics Michael Brown accepted the American Physical Society's (APS) 2008 Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution at a ceremony in St. Louis this weekend.
Brown was cited by the Society's selection committee "for his outstanding contributions to plasma physics made possible by his development of a world-class spheromak laboratory at the College, and for his energetic mentoring of undergraduate students."
In accepting the award, Brown (pictured at right giving a tour of his lab) acknowledged his mentors Peter Collings, Morris L. Clothier Professor of Physics at Swarthmore, and CalTech physicist Paul Bellan "for their guidance and support over the years." He added: "This work and my laboratory would not be possible without the dedication of the dozens of Swarthmore students who have participated in SSX research."
Brown is the principal investigator in the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX), which studies fundamental plasma physics phenomena such as magnetic reconnection using rings of plasma called spheromaks. A co-founder of the Center for Magnetic Self-Organization in Laboratory and Astrophysical Plasmas, his experiments at Swarthmore have received more than $2.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Research Corp, Petroleum Research Fund, NASA, and others.