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Kenneth W Gentle

Department of Physics

Particle and electron transport


Phone: 512-471-7581

Office Location
PMA 11.216

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1966

Research Interests

My personal research has concentrated on questions of particle and electron transport, perhaps the least understood of the transport channels. Electron transport is especially challenging because it does not seem to be diffusive -- the thermal flux is not proportional to the temperature gradient.

Dr. Gentle attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving an S.B. (1962) and Ph.D. (1966) in physics. He continued as an instructor there in 1966. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, Associate Professor in 1970, and Professor in 1976. He received an Alfred Sloan Fellowship for 1973-75. He was appointed Josey Professor of Energy, 1986-88.

Since 1966, he has been engaged in a variety of experiments on nonlinear plasma waves, weak plasma turbulence, strong plasma turbulence, and tokamak confinement physics. In 1973, he assumed leadership of the first tokamak experiment at the University of Texas. In 1976, he initiated the TEXT Tokamak project, serving as director until 1985. He received a Department of Energy Certificate of Appreciation for this work in 1985. He continued to work on TEXT, engaging in a number of experiments on transport and heating, until the completion of the project in 1996. He has also conducted particle transport experiments on ASDEX as a guest of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Munich, in a collaboration begun in 1986. His current transport research involves experiments using the tokamak facilties at MIT, General Atomics *San Diego), and JTEXT (the reconstruction of TEXT at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China), as well as basic turbulence experiments on the Helimak at the University.

He has served on a number of advisory committees and review panels for the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy. In 1989, he served on the Foreign Applied Sciences Assessment Center panel assessing the West European magnetic fusion program, writing the chapter on tokamaks. He was chairman of the physics department from January, 1997, to January, 2001, and he was Director of the Fusion Research Center until August, 2010. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the European Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China in 2004.