TU Professor Awarded DOE Grant for Plasma Physics Research

Friday, May 04, 2007


University of Tulsa professor Dylan Brennan has received approximately $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance his research in plasma physics, which would expand the study of thermonuclear fusion as an energy source.

The funding will allow Brennan, an assistant professor of physics, to add a support team for his research, including a full-time postdoctoral research scientist, a graduate student and undergraduate students.

The federal grant, called the Plasma Physics Junior Faculty Development Program, was initiated by the DOE’s Office of Science to support the development of research programs by exceptionally talented researchers early in their careers.

Brennan’s research will advance the theoretical physics of how high-energy particles interact with turbulent electromagnetic fields, which is key to the study of thermonuclear fusion. DOE has intensified its support for fusion research in recent years because of nuclear fusion’s potential as an energy source. As part of Brennan’s work, smaller-scale computation will be conducted on TU’s campus and large-scale computation will be conducted at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Berkeley, Calif.

"It’s an honor to be recognized nationally and to receive the funding that I believe will greatly enhance my research while getting TU students involved in advanced analytic- and computational-based analysis," Brennan said.

"This award showcases the incredible talent in our physics department," said Steven Bellovich, dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. Bellovich also said this award would strengthen TU’s physics department, under the direction of George Miller, physics professor and chair of the department, and perhaps lead to the expansion of TU’s physics graduate degree programs.