FACULTY RETIREMENT: JAMES
oted internationally for his research involvement, teaching and leadership
in the fusion field, Donald W. Kerst Professor of Engineering Physics
and Physics James
D. Callen retired from the faculty and formal teaching responsibilities
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s
degrees in nuclear engineering in 1962 and 1964, respectively, from
Kansas State University. He also studied mechanical engineering and
physics at the Technische Hogeschool Te Eindhoven, Netherlands, from
1962 to 1963 on a Fulbright Fellowship. Focusing on applied plasma physics,
Callen earned his PhD in nuclear engineering in 1968 from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. Then, he did postdoctoral research on a National
Science Foundation graduate fellowship with M.N. Rosenbluth at the Institute
for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.
After three years as an assistant professor of aeronautics
and astronautics at MIT and seven years in various research and management
capacities with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he joined the Departments
of Engineering Physics (then Nuclear Engineering) and Physics in 1979.
Since coming to UW-Madison, he also has spent extended periods of time
at other institutions: the Joint European Tokamak Project in England
(Guggenheim Fellowship, 1986 to ‘87), the Princeton Plasma Physics
Laboratory (sabbatical, 1991 to ‘92), and the Institute for Theoretical
Physics (University of California-Santa Barbara, spring 1995).
In the 1970s, Callen pioneered work on the theory
of plasma heating through neutral beam injection and began studying
transient electron heat transport and “magnetic islandography”
However, his most outstanding achievement, according
to colleagues around the world, was his development (in 1986) and refinement
of the theory of the neoclassical tearing mode, recognized today as
one of the major obstacles to tokamak fusion. The theory and its experimental
verification (in 1995), developed with Associate Professor of Engineering
Hegna and Zuoyang Chang (then postdoctoral students), laid the foundation
for new experiments by many tokamak research groups worldwide. For the
work, Callen received the 2003 Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a
Research Publication at the college’s Engineers’ Day celebration
on Oct. 17.
Callen is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society
and the American Physical Society. In 1990, he was elected a member
of the National Academy of Engineering.
Co-author of “WASH-1295,” an early (1994)
U.S. tokamak “bible,” he has been significantly involved
in many major national fusion program activities, including founding
and initially leading the Transport Task Force. He has co-authored two
books and more than 165 journal-type publications, and lectured internationally
about tokamaks and advanced fusion plasma physics. On campus, he supervised
about 20 PhD theses and taught advanced plasma physics courses to most
of the plasma and fusion graduate students over the past 24 years. He
continues to work on a book based on his lecture notes. In addition,
he founded (in 1988) and continues to lead the Center for Plasma Theory and Computation at UW-Madison.
In “retirement,” he hopes to focus on
book-writing and to continue to be active in fusion research—interspersed
with extended trips (particularly during the spring semester) with his
wife, Judy, to their lake cabin in Tennessee.