Posted on: 11th March 2016

It is with great sadness that EUROfusion has learned about the passing away of Martin Keilhacker, the former Director of EUROfusion’s flagship device JET. Keilhacker was a leading figure in Europe’s fusion research scene, and it was under his directorship that JET, in 1997, produced the world record fusion power of 16 MW.

Keilhacker started his career as a physicist in 1960 at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) as a member of the scientific staff. His contributions to the field of fusion include his work on theta pinches and collisionless shockwaves. From 1973 to 1985, he was the project head of experiments carried out at the ASDEX tokamak when the divertor concept was successfully tested and the discovery of the H-mode with improved energy confinement was made.

Echoing the sentiments of many in the fusion research community, EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné said, “I am very sorry to learn that Martin has passed away. My, and EUROfusion’s, condolences go to Martin’s family and friends and to all his former colleagues. Martin has played a very important role in the European fusion landscape and especially at JET.”

The Scientific Director of IPP Sibylle Günter also paid respects to Keilhacker and in a note to all IPP staff wrote that she along with his colleagues and the global fusion community are indebted to Keilhacker for his contributions to fusion and would remember him forever as a valuable human being and successful researcher.