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Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Miklos Porkolab

Professor of Physics, Director Plasma Science & Fusion Center

Miklos Porkolab Email:
Phone: (617) 253-8448
Address: Room NW16-288
Related links: Physics Research

Research Interests

Controlled fusion research, radio frequency heating of plasma, experimental studies of plasma turbulence, and basic plasma physics, including magnetic reconnection.

Biographical Sketch

Professor Miklos Porkolab received his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1967, and thereafter joined the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory where he rose to the position of Senior Research Physicist and Lecturer with the rank of Professor in the Astrophysical Sciences Department in 1975. While at Princeton University, Professor Porkolab carried out pioneering experimental research in the area of nonlinear wave-wave and wave-particle interactions, parametric instabilities and high power wave plasma interactions in high temperature plasmas.

Professor Porkolab spent 1976 at the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany, under the auspices of the Humboldt Foundation as a winner of the "US Senior Scientist Award." In 1977, he joined MIT as a professor in the Physics Department and since then he has led several pioneering experiments in radio frequency heating and noninductive current drive on the Versator II, and the Alcator C and C-Mod tokamaks. For this work, Professor Porkolab shared the 1984 American Physical Society Excellence in Plasma Research Award and won the American Physical Society's 2009 James Clerk Maxwell Prize. In 2013 he received the Hannes Alfvén Prize of the European Physical Society.

From 1991-2001 he served as Editor of Physics Letters A, Plasma Physics and Fluid Dynamics subsection. He also represented the U. S. Plasma Physics community for six years on the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Commission-16 (Plasma Physics) (1991-1997). From 1992-95, he served as a member of the National Research Council Subpanel on Plasma Science.

Professor Porkolab is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the Chairman of the Fusion Power Associates. He has served on various DOE committees, and has been past chairman of the Gordon Research Conferences (1978) and the RF Power in Plasmas Conference in Boston (1993). In 1999, he served as Chair, Plasma Physics Division, American Physical Society. Since 1995 he has been the Director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at MIT.

Selected Publications

"Plasma Instabilities Due to Ion Temperature Gradients", Miklos Porkolab, Nucl. Fusion 8, 29-36 (1968).

"Instabilities and Induced Scattering due to Nonlinear Landau Damping of Longitudinal Plasma Waves in a Magnetic Field'', M. Porkolab and R.P.H. Chang, Phys. Fluids 15, 283-296 (1972).

"Nonlinear Wave Effects in Laboratory Plasmas: A Comparison Between Theory and Experiment", M. Porkolab and R.P.H. Chang, Reviews of Modern Phys. 50, 745 (1978).

"Observations of Lower-Hybrid Current Drive at High Densities in the Alcator C Tokamak", M. Porkolab, J.J. Schuss, B. Lloyd et al., Physical Review Letters 53, 450 (1984).

"Ion Bernstein Wave Heating and Improved Confinement on the Alcator-C Tokamak,'' J.D. Moody, M. Porkolab, C.L. Fiore, F.S. McDermott, Y. Takase, J. Terry and S.M. Wolfe, Phys. Rev. Lett. 60, 298 (1988).

"Signature of Turbulent Zonal Flows Observed in the DIII D Tokamak," S. Coda, M. Porkolab, K.H. Burrell, Physical Review Letters 86, 4835 (2001).

"Edge Ion Heating and Parametric Decay during Injection of Ion Cyclotron Resonance Frequency Power on the Alcator C-Mod Tokamak," J.C. Rost, M. Porkolab, R.L. Boivin, Phys. of Plasmas 9, 1262 (2002). (top)


Interview witih Miklos Porkolab (Geneva Tribune March 3, 2010, English, French)


77 Massachusetts Avenue, NW16, Cambridge, MA 02139,


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