Papers of Marshall Rosenbluth, professor at University of California, San Diego, and plasma physicist noted for his work in thermonuclear fusion, the Rosenbluth formula on theoretical scattering, and his role in the discovery of Rosenbluth-Hinton flows. The bulk of the collection contains his writings, speeches, photocopies of lecture transparencies, and documents relating to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the JASON Defense Advisory Group.


Born in Albany, New York, on February 5, 1927, Marshall N. Rosenbluth graduated from high school in 1942 and after two years in the U.S. Navy, graduated from Harvard with his bachelor's degree in 1946. He went on in 1949 to receive his Ph.D. with a focus on high energy particle physics from the University of Chicago.

After his post-doctoral position at Stanford University (1949-1950) where he derived the Rosenbluth formula, he joined the Los Alamos Laboratory and worked on the hydrogen bomb and other projects from 1950-1956. Rosenbluth’s time at Los Alamo began his life-long pursuit of fusion as an alternate energy source.

In 1956 Rosenbluth took the position of senior research advisor with the nuclear energy research company General Atomics (GA) in San Diego. He continued working with GA even after being appointed professor of physics at University of California, San Diego in 1960. After 1967, Rosenbluth took professorships at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study and then at the University of Texas at Austin before returning to UCSD and GA twenty years later in 1987. Rosenbluth retired from these positions in 1993 and began work as the chief scientist of the Central Team for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) until 1999. During this time, he was also involved with the JASON Defense Advisory Group, an independent group of scientists that advised the United States government on military, science, and energy-related issues.

During his career Rosenbluth received many awards and recognitions including the E.O. Lawrence Prize, awarded by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1964; the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics, awarded by the American Physical Society in 1976; the National Medal of Science, awarded by President Clinton in 1997; and the Nicholson Medal from the American Physical Society in 2000.

Rosenbluth died in 2003.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Marshall Rosenbluth Papers document Rosenbluth’s research and writings in the field of plasma physics and the commercial use of fusion as an energy source. The collection is arranged in six series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS, 3) SPEECHES AND REMARKS, 4) TRANSPARENCIES, 5) BIOGRAPHICAL, and 6) MISCELLANEOUS.


The CORRESPONDENCE series dates from 1960 to 2003, is arranged chronologically, and includes correspondence with Dr. Philip Handler, John D. Lindl, Dr. Steven Koonin, and others, in addition to correspondence with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.

Series 2: WRITINGS

The WRITINGS series is arranged into two subseries: General and JASON Defense Advisory Group. Both subseries are arranged alphabetically by title.


The SPEECHES AND REMARKS series is arranged alphabetically by title and comprises mostly award acceptance speeches and lectures on fusion.


The TRANSPARENCIES series contains both hand-written and typed transparencies used by Rosenbluth during lectures. They are arranged alphabetically according to subject terms found within the transparencies themselves. Subjects covered include the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), free electron lasers, and tokamaks. For preservation, hand-written transparencies have been photocopied and the originals have been removed.


The BIOGRAPHICAL series includes articles about and interviews with Rosenbluth, awards received and documents on his family history.


The MISCELLANEOUS series comprises two conference pamphlets and an article written by R. J. Bickerton with Rosenbluth’s handwritten notes in the margins.


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1 1 U.S. Department of Energy, Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, 1992.
1 2 Correspondence A-Z, 1980-2002.
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1 3 "Asymptotic Analysis of the Time Dependent Image from a Perfect Lens." Preprint, 2002.
1 4 "Calculation of the Kolmogorov Entropy for Motion Along a Stochastic Magnetic Field." Photocopy of reprint, 1979.
1 5 "Comprehensive Gyrokinetic Simulation of Tokamak Turbulence at Finite Relative Gyroradius." Typescript, undated.
1 6 "Continuum Damping of High-Mode-Number Toroidal Alfven Waves." Drafts, 1991.
1 7 "Effect of Atmosphere Wind Profiles on Atmospheric Propogation." Photocopy with notes, undated.
1 8 "Electron Heat Transport in a Tokamak with Destroyed Magnetic Surfaces." Photocopy with notes, 1978.
1 9 "Energy Exchange Between Electrons and Ions." Draft report, September 29, 1960.
1 10 "Feedback of Resistive Wall Modes." Typescript, undated.
1 11 "Finite-Resistivity Instabilities of a Sheet Pinch." Photocopy, 1963.
1 12 "Free-Electron Lasers with Veriable Parameter Wigglers." Reprint, 1981.
1 13 [General Neoclassical Dynamo.] Notes, 2003.
1 14 "Genesis of the Thermonuclear Era." Manuscript draft, undated.
1 15 "Gyrokinetic Turbulence Simulation of Profile Shear Stabilization and Broken GyroBohm Scaling." Draft, September 12, 2001.
1 16 "Investigations of the Role of Nonlinear Couplings in Structure Formation and Transport Regulation: Experiment, Simulation, and Theory." Typescript, undated.
1 17 "Ion Pulse Transport in Target Chambers." Photocopy of reprint, undated.
1 18 "A New Regime for Tearing Modes." Printed draft, 1989.
1 19 "Nonlinear Electron Response to Electromagnetic Fluctuations in the Zero Electron Mass Limit." Printed copy, undated.
1 20 "On Sand Piles with Bi-Stable Automata Rules: Towards a Minimal Model of Pedestal Formation and Structure." Photocopy of reprint, Augsut 29, 2002.
1 21 "A Physicist's Perspective on Fusion Research." Typescript, undated.
1 22 "Plasma Transport in Toroidal Confinement Systems." Reprint, 1972.
1 23 "Poloidal Flow Driven by Ion-Temperature-Gradient Turbulence in Tokamaks." Reprint and notes, January 26, 1998.
1 24 "Reduced Equations for Electromagnetic Turbulence in Tokamaks." Reprint, 2003.
1 25 "Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program." Committee report, March 1986.
1 26 "Strong Lumped Circuit Solutions." Preprint, 1988.
1 27 "STRS revisited." Handwritten drafts, undated.
1 28 Untitled. Drafts and handwritten equations, undated.
1 29 "With regard to MIC, I have the following comments." Proposal review, undated.
1 30 "A Young Man Encounters Enrico Fermi." Typescript draft of Rosenbluth's contribution to the book Fermi Remembered edited by James W. Cronin, 2003.

JASON Defense Advisory Group

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2 1 "Airborne Laser", September 10, 1992.
2 2 "Effects of Inermittent Atmospheric Fluctuations on Hel Propogation in the Atmosphere", August 1, 1989.
2 3 "Effect of Random Winds on Blooming", June 19, 1989 and July 26, 1990.
2 4 "Effect of Windshear on Wind Clearning Time", August 5, 1988.
2 5 "Free Electron Lasers: Winter 1988 Comments on Atmospheric Propagation Issues", June 1990.
2 6 [Inertial confinement.] Transparencies, undated.
2 7 "JASON Review of the SDIO Free Electron Laser Program", October 1990.
2 8 "Metamaterials with Negative Permeability and Negative Permittivity", August 18, 2003.
2 9 [Science Based Stockpile stewardship (SBSS).] Transparencies, undated.
2 10 "Summer 1988 FEL Report: Discussions of Some Major Issues", August 1988.
2 11 "Thermal Blooming in the Presence of Random Wind Shear", August 16, 1991.


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2 12 "Acceptance Remarks by Marshall N. Rosenbluth." Ernest O. Lawrence Award Ceremony, April 30, 1964.
2 13 "Acceptance Remarks on Receipt of Maxwell Prize", November 23, 1976.
2 14 "Development of Nuclear Fusion Research", May 18, 1987.
2 15 "From Yearning to Burning: Possible Guidelines for 'Burning Plasma' Thinking", 2000.
2 16 "Fusion- Past, Present, and ITER." Given at dedication of Naka site of the International Thermonuclear Engineering Reactor (ITER), undated.
2 17 "Genesis of the Monte Carlo Algorithm for Statistical Mechanics." Lecture given at the Monte Carlo Method in the Physical Sciences, Los Alamos, NM, June 9-11, 2003.
2 18 Harold P. Furth memorial remarks, 2002.
2 19 "My Life in Fusion." Printed copy, June 2002.
2 20 Remarks at the Fermi Award presentation, February 6, 1986.
2 21 "The Role of the Weibel Instability in Energy Transport Experiments." Presented at 5th Workshop on Fast Ignition of Fusion Targets, Madeira, Portugal, June 19, 2001.
2 22 "Some Cold War Stories in Tribute to a Dear Friend on His 70th Birthday: Marshall N. Rosenbluth for Roald Z. Sagdeev", 2002.


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2 23 [ARIES and Pulsar].
2 24 [Department goals for fusion].
2 25 [Effects of energetic particles on tokamak stability].
2 26 [Electron lasers].
3 1 [Fusion issues and the ITER challenge].
3 2 [Fusion perspectives].
3 3 [Fusion time scales].
3 4 [Intertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)].
3 5 [Instability of resistive sheet pinch].
3 6 [The interchange instability].
3 7 [ITER and cyclone].
3 8-9 [ITER and Engineering Design Activities (EDA)].
3 10-11 [Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)].
3 12 [Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) stability].
3 13 [Reasons for fusion's problems].
3 14 [Resistive wall modes].
3 15 [Sensitivity study].
3 16 [Shear Alfven waves].
3 17 [Spheromaks].
3 18 [Tandem mirrors].
3 19 [Thermal blooming experiment].
3 20 [Tokamak].
3 21 [Toroidal Alfven Eigenmodes].
3 22 [Transport initiative].
3 23 [United States magnetic fusion strategy].
4 1-3 Untitled.


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4 4 Articles about Marshall Rosenbluth, 1987-1993.
4 5 Awards.
4 6 Curriculum Vitae, July 1987.
4 7 Family tree.
4 8 "In Memoriam: Marshall N. Rosenbluth", 2004.
4 9 "Interview with Marshall Rosenbluth by Kai-Henrik Barth: Session 1", August 11, 2003.
4 10 Photographs of Marshall Rosenbluth.
4 11 "The Many Lives of Robert Rosenbluth: His Autobiography." Mimeograph by Robert Rosenbluth (father), 1962.


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4 12 Bickerton, R.J. - "History of the Approach to Ignition." Printed copy with notes by Rosenbluth, Undated.
4 13 "Direction des Sciences de la Matiere Departement de Recharches sur la Fusion Controlee: Visite de M. Rosenbluth." Flyer, April 4, 2001.
4 14 "Energy Independence Conference: Fusion Energy and Plasma Physics." Conference pamphlet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 17-21, 1987.

Finding aid generated: 2010-08-05