Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Arthur V. Phelps
JILA, University of Colorado


"In recognition of his leadership in the field of gaseous electronics, as evidenced by definitive pioneering studies of electron, ion, and atomic collision processes, calculations of electron transport and energy flow in ionized gases, and applications to newly developing technology areas such as gas lasers."


Arthur Van Rensselaer Phelps was born July 20, 1923 in Dover, New Hampshire.  He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering  (1944-University of Texas), served  3 years in the Navy, received a B.S. in Physics (1947-University of Florida) and a Sc.D. in Physics (1951-MIT).  As a physicist at the Westinghouse Research Laboratories from 1951 to 1970, he worked on low energy electron collisions with atoms and molecules, resonance radiation transport, and negative ion-molecule reactions with atmospheric gases.  He was a Senior Research Scientist NIST and a Fellow of JILA from 1970 until retirement in 1988 and Professor Adjoint, Department of Physics, University of Colorado since 1977. He was Chairman, JILA, 1979-81.  At JILA, he worked on measurement and modeling of transport and reaction coefficients for electrons, ions, metastables, and neutral in gases, experiments and models of electrical discharges at high electric fields and low pressures. Recent research includes analyses and modeling of energetic ion, neutral, and electron processes in the cathode region of glow discharges.

Professional associations include: Fellow of the American Physical Society; Chair, Gaseous Electronics Conference (1965, 1966); Board of Editors, The Physical Review, 1963-65; Associate Editor, Reviews of Modern Physics, 1973-75; Chairperson, Gordon Research Conference on Plasma Chemistry, 1990. He has had about 110 papers published. He received the 1990 Will Allis Prize of the American Physical Society.  He received a Most Highly Cited Paper Award 2009 from Plasma Sources Science and Technology.

Selection Committee:

M.A. Biondi, J.N. Bardsley, M.A. Lieberman, J. Proud, R.A. Gottscho