Leigh Winfrey Named New Editor of Fusion Science & Technology

Published: October 4th, 2017

Category: Faculty News, Homepage Slider, News

The American Nuclear Society has appointed UF Nuclear Engineering Professor Leigh Winfrey editor of Fusion Science and Technology.

Winfrey is an associate professor in the Nuclear Engineering Program within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research focuses on fusion, particularly designing plasma-facing materials for the insides of tokamak fusion reactors (magnetic bottles) that can handle disruptions similar to solar flares and designing ways to keep those disruptions as infrequent as possible. Winfrey works in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on an experimental device that simulates high heat flux and high particle conditions and another that launches tiny pellets of frozen gas into the fusion plasma surface to minimize disruptions. In addition, she is the director of the B and E Applied Research and Science (BEARS) Laboratory at UF.

Fusion Science and Technology is one of three technical journals within the American Nuclear Society and published by Taylor & Francis Group. The journal focuses on theoretical and practical applications of nuclear fusion technology, including fusion plasma physics and plasma engineering, fusion plasma enabling science and technology, and fusion nuclear technology and material science.

“My first, first author publication was in FS&T, so I am incredibly honored and excited to take over the helm of one of the most highly regarded journals in fusion” Winfrey said.

Editing a journal has been a long-term goal for Winfrey since starting graduate school.  She says it is a chance to serve the technology community and set the philosophical and scientific tone for a field.

Winfrey is looking forward to guiding the journal during a time when fusion research is gaining more traction in the public and private arenas worldwide. This growth in fusion is a result of higher demands for energy and countries moving away from fossil-fuel based power. Just 10 years ago when Winfrey made a list of challenges for making fusion power a reality, she said the list was much longer than it is today and still included fundamental physics questions. Now that some of the science issues have been answered, the technology is in the development stage and governments have begun to invest more in fusion. In addition, a number of private companies have entered the market as well, which drives awareness, interest, investment and progress.

“Dr. Winfrey will bring her high-level knowledge and immense passion to fusion and plasma science research as the next editor of Fusion Science and Technology,” said Jim Baciak, Nuclear Program director. “Having a member of our faculty editing such a prestigious journal in the field shines a spotlight on Dr. Winfrey as an internationally-recognized researcher and our entire program.”

Winfrey is taking over the position from Dr. Nermin Uckan, a senior fusion scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Winfrey is only the third editor since the publication’s debut as a freestanding journal in 1981. The journal was started by George H. Miley, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois.

Winfrey earned her Master’s in physics and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University. She joined the UF faculty in 2014 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The American Nuclear Society is a non-for-profit focused on unifies the fields of nuclear science and technology. The organization has a membership of more than 11,000 engineers, scientists, administrators, and educators who represent 1,600 plus corporations, educational institutions and government agencies.