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Vale Professor Bob Dewar, giant in plasma physics

30 Apr 2024 1:15 PM | Anonymous

It is with sadness that we share the news that Emeritus Professor Robert “Bob” Leith Dewar FAA, FAPS, FAIP passed away this April. A long-time AIP member (since 1974) and AIP fellow, Bob made a significant impact on the physics community, locally and abroad.

Bob was a giant in the field of theoretical plasma physics, with important contributions in Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and in dynamical systems. These include MHD equilibrium and stability, MHD ballooning modes, Taylor relaxation and Hamiltonian maps. Bob worked closely with computer simulation and with experimentalists and has made important contributions to magnetic fusion research and to astrophysics.

Recently he has been instrumental in the development of a multiple region relaxed MHD model to describe general stellarator fields, and he was presently working on a generalisation of such models to systems that preserve magnetic helicity with a weak ideal Ohm’s law constraint.

He initiated several major collaborations across physics and mathematics, including the National Plasma Fusion Research Facility, the Australian Research Council Complex Open Systems Research Network, and led the ANU’s plasma theory and modelling group until retirement in 2011.  Perhaps most importantly, he has left a legacy in both research and teaching, spanning 5 postdocs, 16 PhD, and many Masters and Honours students.  Many of these now hold prominent positions in the field.

Read more about Vale Professor Bob Dewar’s life and tributes made in his honour on the tribute page. Information about a service or a research symposium celebrating his contributions will also be included on that site as details come to light.

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