Mark Kushner Awarded 2015 IEEE NPSS Charles K. Birdsall Award

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Mark Kushner

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Mark Kushner, George I. Haddad Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been awarded the 2015 IEEE NPSS Charles K. Birdsall Award from the Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society for his outstanding contributions in computational nuclear and plasma science.

Prof. Kushner is an internationally renowned expert in the area of low-temperature plasma simulation. He directs the Computational Plasma Science and Energy Group (CPSEG), and is Director of both the DoE Plasma Science Center and the Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering (MIPSE). Mark is also Director of the Graduate Certificate Program in Plasmsa Science and Engineering.

His research group, CPSEG, develops computer simulations of low temperature plasmas and technologically important devices which use low temperature plasmas. Many of the computer models and CAD tools developed by the CPSEG are available for licensing and transfer to industry. In particular the Hybrid Plasma Equipment Model (HPEM) is now in use by semiconductor equipment suppliers and chip manufacturers.

The Plasma Science Center brings together 11 academic and national laboratories to conduct  fundamental research on low-temperature plasmas. In particular, the Center is investigating techniques to customize the distributions of charged particles (electrons and ions) in these plasmas. The fundamental research that is being conducted at the Center could lead to more efficient solar cells, finer-featured microchips and new medical tools that cut and heal tissues with plasma-activated chemistry.

When Prof. Kushner came to Michigan, he established MIPSE to provide a focal point for the many faculty, staff, and student researchers whose research and educational programs are devoted to the advancement of the science and technology of plasmas. MIPSE provides a lecture series that brings international experts in the field to Michigan, supports student and faculty research, offers an annual Graduate Student Symposium, and provides consultation to companies, government agencies and foundations involved in the use of plasmas. Through Mark's efforts, MIPSE has brought international visibility to Michigan's broad and deep contributions to plasma science.

In addition to being elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Prof. Kushner has received the APS Allis Prize, Semiconductor Research Corp. Technical Excellence Award, the Tegal Thinker Award for Plasma Etch Technology, the AVS Plasma Science and Technology Award, the AVS Medard W. Welch Award, the IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Award, and the Semiconductor Industry Association University Researcher Award. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, IEEE, Optical Society of America, AVS, Institute of Physics, International Plasma Chemistry Society, and International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. He served as editor-in-chief of Plasma Sources Science and Technology from 2007-2013.

Prof. Kushner received the BS in Nuclear Engineering and the BA in Astronomy from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1976; and the MS and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1977 and 1979. He worked in national labs and in industry before joining the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1986 where he was the Founder Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He became Dean of Engineering at Iowa State University in 2005, and joined the University of Michigan in 2008.

About the Award

The NPSS Charles K. Birdsall Award recognizes outstanding contributions in computational nuclear and plasma science, with preference given to areas within the broadest scope of plasma physics encompassing the interaction of charged particles and electromagnetic fields.

The award was named after Charles K. Birdsall (1925-2012). Ned, as he was commonly known, was a pioneering inventor and educator whose contributions to plasma science have made lasting impacts on communications and other technologies. In recognition of his pioneering developments in microwave devices and plasmas Ned received the IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Committee (PSAC) Award, the Dawson Award, and most recently, the IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award, “for theoretical investigations and fundamental discoveries involving microwave tubes, electron beam physics and particle-in-cell simulation of plasma physics.”

Prof. Birdsall was an alumnus of Michigan, having received his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering in 1946 and 1948, respectively. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 1951, and joined the faculty of UC-Berkeley in 1959.  

More about Mark Kushner

March 11, 2015