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Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics

IREAP Theory Group

Teaching Faculty: Thomas M. Antonsen, Jr., William Dorland, James F. Drake, Jr., Michelle Girvan, Adil Hassam, Edward Ott

Associate Research Scientist: Marc Swisdak

Teaching Faculty

Thomas M. Antonsen, Jr., Professor, was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1950. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1973, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1976 and 1977, all from Cornell University. He was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory in 1976-1977, and a research scientist in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT from 1977 to 1980. In 1980 he moved to the University of Maryland where he joined the faculty of the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Physics in 1984. He is currently professor of physics and electrical engineering.

Prof. Antonsen has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (UCSB), the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Institute de Physique Theorique, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France. He was selected as a fellow of the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society in 1986.

Prof. Antonsen's research interests include the theory of magnetically confined plasmas, the theory and design of high power sources of coherent radiation, nonlinear dynamics in fluids, and the theory of the interaction of intense laser pulses and plasmas. He is the author or co-author of over 140 journal articles and co-author of the book "Principles of Free-Electron Lasers." Prof. Antonsen has served on the editorial board of Physical Review Letters, The Physics of Fluids, and Comments on Plasma Physics.

William Dorland, Associate Professor, received his B.S. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1988, a Master's of Public Affairs from Princeton in 1993, and a Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton in 1993. After working at the Institute for Fusion Studies in Austin for four years, he moved to Maryland in 1998. Dr. Dorland's research is generally in the area of turbulence in magnetized plasmas, with a recent emphasis on developing and understanding realistic nonlinear gyrokinetic simulations of electromagnetic plasma turbulence.

James F. Drake, Jr., Professor, earned his bachelors degree from UCLA and remained at UCLA to complete his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1975. After completing his doctorate, Professor Drake remained at UCLA for a brief time as a post-doctoral scholar and then moved to the University of Maryland first as a post-doctoral scholar and then as a member of the teaching faculty.

Professor Drake has worked on a very broad range of topics in the general area of theoretical plasma physics using both analytical and numerical techniques. His work has applications spanning a variety of physical systems, including the solar corona, the earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere, magnetically confined plasma, and the interaction of intense lasers with plasma. His present focus is on magnetic reconnection with space physics applications and turbulence and transport with applications to the magnetic fusion program. In recognition for his contributions to the field of plasma physics, he was granted fellowship status in the American Physical Society and was awarded a Humboldt Senior Scientist Research Award.

Michelle Girvan, Assistant Professor, received her B.S. in physics and a B.S. in mathematics with a minor in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, in June 1999. She received her Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University, Ithica, New York in August 2003. Her research interests include the applications of statistical mechanics, applied math, and computer science to the understanding of complex networks in social and biological systems. She is interested in both broad theoretical approaches to complex networks as well as specific applications, especially to information cascades, epidemiology, and genetic regulatory networks.

Adil Hassam, Professor, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (Plasma Physics). He received BS and MS degrees in physics from MIT in 1974 and a Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 1978. Since then he has been a member of the Institute for Plasma Research at the University of Maryland. He is an expert in dissipative magnetohydrodynamics. His research has ranged from laboratory and fusion plasmas to magnetospheric and solar plasmas. His current interests are in MHD simulations and in innovation in fusion research. He has been honored twice while at Maryland for outstanding teaching.

Edward Ott, Professor, received his doctorate from the Polytechnical Institute, Brooklyn, in 1967. He joined the Maryland faculty in 1979. Professor Ott's research interests include basic theory of chaotic dynamical systems and applications of chaos theory to problems in science and engineering.

Associate Research Scientist

Marc Swisdak received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado in 1999. He did his post-doctoral work at IREAP, worked as a research physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory, and returned to IREAP as an Associate Research Scientist in 2007.

His research interests include collisionless magnetic reconnection, ionospheric and magnetospheric turbulence as it relates to particle energization, and the formation and stability of bifurcated current sheets.

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