Ronald C. Davidson

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Ronald Crosby Davidson (3 July 1941 – 19 May 2016) was a Canadian physicist, professor, and scientific administrator who worked in the United States. He served as the first director of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center from 1978 to 1988, and as director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1991 to 1996.[1][2] He had been Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University since 1991.

Davidson was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, and received his bachelor's degree from McMaster University in 1963, and his doctorate in physics from Princeton University in 1966. As a Post-Doc he was at the University of California, Berkeley from 1966 to 1968. In 1968 he went to work teaching at the University of Maryland where he became a full professor in 1972. In 1978 he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught until 1991.

Davidson was a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the Leadership Award from Fusion Power Associates in 1986 and the 2005 IEEE Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award.[3] In 2008, Davidson received the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics for fundamental contributions to physics in the areas of non-neutral plasmas, particle beams of high intensity and collective non-linear interaction processes in high temperature plasmas.[4]

A resident of Cranbury, New Jersey, Davidson died on May 19, 2016, at his home there.[5]


  1. ^ "Ronald C. Davidson". The Scientist. 7 January 1991. 
  2. ^ "Ronald C Davidson Professor of Astrophysical Sciences, Emeritus. Senior Astrophysicist". Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. 
  3. ^ "PPPL physicist Davidson Garners 2005 Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award". PsychCentral. 3 May 2005. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "2008 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics Recipient". American Physical Society (APS). Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Chang, Kenneth. "Ronald C. Davidson, Pioneer of Fusion Power, Dies at 74", The New York Times, May 29, 2016. Accessed May 30, 2016. "Ronald C. Davidson, who oversaw one of the biggest advances in fusion energy research, attempting to replicate the power of the sun, died on May 19 at his home in Cranbury, N.J. He was 74."

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