Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Clifford Surko
University of California, San Diego


"For the invention of and development of techniques to accumulate, confine, and utilize positron plasmas, and for seminal experimental studies of waves and turbulence in tokamak plasmas."


Cliff Surko is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at University of California, San Diego. He received an A.B. degree in Mathematics and Physics (1964) and a Ph.D. in Physics (1968) from the University of California, Berkeley. Following a short post doc at UC Berkeley, he was a staff member, then department head, at (AT&T) Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, before coming to UC San Diego in 1988. Visiting research appointments include the MIT Plasma Fusion Center (1977-84), Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France (1979), and University College, London (1997). He is a fellow of the APS and the AAAS; and member of Sigma Xi and the APS Divisions of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics and Plasma Physics.

Professor Surko's research has ranged over topics in plasma and atomic physics, nonlinear dynamics, and condensed matter physics. With colleagues, he developed small-angle laser scattering techniques to study waves and turbulence in tokamak plasmas and invented the buffer-gas positron trap, now used worldwide for a variety of antimatter-physics applications. Current research includes a variety of positron-atomic physics studies and developing plasma-based tools to utilize positrons and study positron plasmas. With John Ahearne, he co-chaired the National Research Council study, "Plasma Science" (National Academy Press, 1995).

Selection Committee:

Ian Hutchinson, Chair; John Goree; Phillip Sprangle; Martin Goldman; Christopher Keane