Family Celebrates Albert Simon's Service to LLE

Albert Simon

Albert Simon, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, has left an enduring mark on the Laboratory for Laser Energetics where he is a Senior Scientist.

Albert Simon's family recently announced a gift to LLE to commemorate the professor's 90th birthday.

"This gift from the family of Albert Simon is gratefully received," said Robert McCrory, LLE's Director. "Albert Simon made seminal contributions throughout his long and distinguished career to the field of plasma physics and controlled thermonuclear research. Al was a Ph.D. student of Professor Robert Marshak at the University of Rochester. Albert's life-long interest in fusion began with his early career work at Oak Ridge [National Laboratory] and General Atomics. His devotion to education led to his academic career as a Professor at the University of Rochester where he made a lasting impact on students, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Physics Department, the Mechanical Engineering Department, and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics."

Simon's interest in theoretical plasma physics both advanced knowledge in the field and attracted students to it. For example, he was the first to successfully carry out the calculations that explain two-plasmon decay, a complicated process in which laser light propagating through a plasma spontaneously transforms into plasma waves. Two-plasmon decay has turned out to be an important process in direct-drive laser-fusion research, and Simon's paper has been cited more than 100 times.

Many of LLE's early graduate students were drawn to plasma physics and thermonuclear fusion for their dissertation research because of Simon's high standing in the field.

A 1950 Ph.D. graduate in Physics from the University, Simon worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, then General Atomics before returning to the University as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Physics in 1966.

He was one of the first faculty members at the University to work with LLE, and was appointed Senior Scientist there in 1983.

His family—sons Richard and David, and cousins Bette Moss and Gloria Schlussel—provided the gift, which will help support LLE's summer program for high school students.

"The LLE is an important domain of excellence within our University and of particular significance for faculty in engineering," said Rob Clark, Dean of the Hajim School and the University's Senior Vice President for Research. "We are greatly appreciative of gifts that further enable its mission."