In memoriam | Physicist John Wesson

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In memoriam

Physicist John Wesson

The theoretical physicist, author of a major reference book on magnetic confinement fusion in tokamaks, was known to many members of the ITER community.

 (Click to view larger version...)
Some knew him through his seminal work, Tokamaks, first published in 1985 and now in its fourth edition. Described as "required reading" for generations of fusion scientists, the book is an introduction to fusion-oriented plasma physics in tokamak devices.

Others—thinking back to how they had the privilege of crossing his path early in their careers—remember him as "kind, patient, insightful, and very funny."

After joining the AEI plasma research laboratory in 1957, Dr John Wesson took up a post with UKAEA's Theory Division in 1963. He moved across to the JET Joint Undertaking in the early 1980s, with responsibility for plasma stability experiments. He was in the control room in 1991 when JET performed its first experiments using deuterium and tritium, and remained a key member of JET's staff until he retired. A book authored during his retirement on the achievements of JET (The Science of JET, available through EUROfusion), was released in 1999.

Outside of fusion, he was also interested in the science of soccer and golf.

Dr Wesson died on 4 January 2020 at age 88. Click here to read the obituary published on 12 February in The Times.


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