Professor Dr. Friedrich Wagner from the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP), Greifswald Branch, retired at the end of November. Professor Wagner (born 1943) discovered in 1982 on the ASDEX tokamak (IPP-Garching) the High-Confinement Regime, later called H-Mode, a plasma state with confinement properties about twice as effective as in former modes of operation. He was able to show that under certain conditions self-organised transport barriers form at the plasma edge. The thermally insulating layer ensures good plasma confinement, a very important discovery in the development of fusion research. This achievement gave new momentum to the research which was facing serious difficulties at the end of the 70s due to the fact that thermal insulation inevitably diminished as the temperature approached ignition conditions.

Friedrich Wagner was appointed project head of the ASDEX experiment in 1986, and two years later Scientific Fellow and Director at IPP. This was followed by his appointment as project head of the Garching stellarator Wendelstein 7-AS. In 1992 Wagner and his team also succeeded in developing the H-mode on this stellarator, proving this regime to be a universal plasma state.

From 2003 till 2005 Friedrich Wagner was in charge of the construction of the follow-up experiment, Wendelstein 7- X, at the Greifswald branch of IPP, whose spokesman he was from 1999 till 2007. In 1999 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the Ernst Moritz Arndt University in Greifswald and in 2007 became President of the European Physical Society.

Professor Wagner has been awarded the Stern-Gerlach Medal 2009 by the German Physical Society (DPG) for his work in high-temperature physics and fusion research.