Marshall N. Rosenbluth
Marshall Rosenbluth was born February 5, 1927, in Albany, New York. He attended Harvard University and then the University of Chicago, receiving his doctorate in 1949 at the age of 22. His first academic post was as an instructor at Stanford University, where he analyzed the effects of scattering relativistic electronics with nuclei. This work led to his discovery of what was subsequently called the "Rosenbluth formula," an equation describing the actions of subatomic particles.
In 1950 Edward Teller asked Rosenbluth to join his team of physicists at Los Alamos to study the principals of fusion. Rosenbluth agreed, and quickly became one of Teller's principal theoreticians. Only two years later, Rosenbluth traveled to Elugelab Island in the Pacific to witness the "Mike" shot; the first man-made uncontrolled thermonuclear chain reaction. His contributions to the project earned him the moniker, "The Pope of Plasma Physics."
Rosenbluth left Los Alamos from 1956 to 1967, working as a senior research advisor for General Atomics in San Diego, California. While at General Atomics, Rosenbluth looked for ways to harness the power of nuclear fusion. Although his goal was not realized during his lifetime, scientists today are developing technology based on his pioneering research.
From 1960 to 1967, Rosenbluth was a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. After leaving UCSD, he taught at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies until 1980, next serving as director of the Institute for Fusion Studies at the University of Texas through 1987. Rosenbluth returned to San Diego, holding the title professor emeritus at UCSD until his retirement in 1993. He maintained close ties to General Atomics until his death in 2003.
Honors bestowed upon Rosenbluth include the E. O. Lawrence Award (1964), the Enrico Fermi Award (1985), the Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award (1987), the Distinguished Career Award (1997), the US National Medal of Science (1997), and the Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service (2000).