Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Michio Okabayashi
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory


"For experiments that demonstrated the stabilization of the resistive wall mode and sustained operation of a tokamak above the conventional free boundary stability limit."


Michio Okabayashi received his B.S. in physics from the University of Tokyo in 1963. He obtained an M.S. degree in 1965, and his Ph.D. degree in 1968 both from the University of Tokyo.

In 1968, Okabayashi took a position at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he has been conducting research in the area of MHD macro stability. His primary interest has been plasma stability and device performance improvement. In the late 1960's, he published numerous papers on fundamental toroidal plasma physics, discussing the advantages of magnetic well and magnetic shear using floating internal ring devices (e.g., Spherator and FM-1).

In the 1970's, Okabayashi's main focus was on non-circular tokamaks. He was a key contributor to the design of the Princeton Divertor Experiment (PDX), the Princeton Beta eXperiment (PBX), and the Princeton Beta eXperiment-Modified, PBX-M. He conceived of bean-shaping to overcome the ideal MHD stability limit using a highly non-circular cross section. He served as the experiment co-head for PBX and as the head of physics in PBX-M.

On PBX-M, he discovered the resistive wall mode, an external kink modified by the resistive wall. Since then, his primary research focus has been the active stabilization of the resistive wall mode. He is currently working on active stabilization of the resistive wall mode on the D-IIID device in collaboration with the Columbia and General Atomics groups.

Okabayashi has been a Fellow of American Physical Society since 1983.

Selection Committee:

Nermin Uckan, Chair; Uri Shumlak; Max Tabak, '06 recipient; John Sarff; Janardin Manickam