Dr. Masaaki Yamada (山田雅章) is a Distinguished Laboratory Research Fellow at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and the Head of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) research program. He is also a Co-PI of the Center for Magnetic Self-Organization in Laboratory and Astrophysical Plasmas, a Physics Frontier Center established by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
He received his B.S. degree in Applied Physics and M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering in 1966 and 1968, respectively, both from the University of Tokyo, and received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois in 1973. He was engaged in many basic plasma physics research programs that were relevant to both fusion and space-astrophysics.
During 1978-1988, he headed the research effort on the spheromak, at that time a new concept for fusion, utilizing the S-1 device. Since the early 1990′s, he has pioneered a new experiment, which became the MRX at PPPL, to explore the fundamental physics of magnetic reconnection. The MRX research has made key discoveries on magnetic reconnection together with many important findings on plasma astrophysics.
Dr. Yamada has authored and co-authored over 200 scientific papers in major refereed journals, including recent review articles in Rev. Modern Phys. (2010) and Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. (2009).
He has been a doctoral thesis advisor for a dozen graduate students of Princeton University, the University of Tokyo, and Purdue University. Dr. Yamada held invited professor positions at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EFPL), Switzerland (1988), Kyoto University (1989), and the University of Tokyo (1994 and 2010). He has been an APS (American Physical Society) Fellow since 1985 and received the APS 2002 Excellence Award in Plasma Physics Research and Princeton University’s Kaul Prize in 2003. Most recently in 2015 the APS has named him the recipient of the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics.
Dr. Yamada co-founded the Princeton Community Japanese Language School (PCJLS) in 1980 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since then. He served as Chairman of the Board during 1985-1995.