I am pleased to announce that James W. Van Dam has been appointed as the permanent Associate Director of the Office of Science's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES), effective May 26, 2019. Jim has been acting as the Associate Director for FES and previously was Director of the Research Division.
During the past year, Jim launched a community-wide two-year activity for long-range strategic program planning; sponsored the 2020 Decadal Assessment of Plasma Science by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine; encouraged establishment of the LaserNetUS consortium of university and national laboratory high-power laser facilities; supported FES moving into quantum information science and machine learning research; and laid the groundwork for private-public research partnerships with fusion industry.
Before coming to FES as Research Division Director in 2011, Jim spent 31 years at the Institute for Fusion Studies (IFS) at The University of Texas at Austin, a national center for theoretical research in plasma physics and fusion energy sciences. His research areas included equilibrium and stability in toroidal magnetic confinement devices, kinetic theory, plasma waves, energetic particles, and magnetospheric plasma physics. He published over one hundred papers and two books. He served on numerous domestic and international professional review committees and advisory groups. For the last nine years of his IFS tenure, he served as director. In parallel, for four years, he was director of the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization, as well as chief scientist for the U.S. ITER Project. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.