An interview with Roald Sagdeev: his story of plasma physics in Russia, 1956–1988
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This oral history interview presents Roald Z. Sagdeev’s story of plasma physics in Russia. It chronicles the Russian school’s achievements in basic, laboratory, fusion and space plasma physics. The interview begins with memories of Sagdeev’s graduate student days in Moscow and then describes his work at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy (1956–1961), the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk (1961–1971) and the Space Research Institute (IKI) (1973–1988). The interview examines the development of quasilinear theory, collisionless shocks, wave turbulence, instabilities, drift waves, chaos theory, the early stages of magnetic confinement theory and space plasma physics. Sagdeev and his school made seminal contributions in all of these areas, and all are central topics in plasma physics today. Sagdeev also speaks of his collaborations and friendships with notable scientists, such as M.N. Rosenbluth, M.A. Leontovich, L.A. Artisimovich, L.I. Rudakov, A.A. Galeev, V.E. Zakharov, as well as of the political and institutional challenges of this period. The conversation reflects Sagdeev’s unique and significant influence in modern plasma theory, Russian space exploration and his support of international cooperation for the advancement of humanity.
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