Harold Fürth

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Harold Fürth (January 13, 1930 – February 21, 2002) was an Austrian-American physicist who was a pioneer in leading the American efforts to harness thermonuclear fusion for the generation of electricity.[2][3] He died of a heart ailment on 21 February 2002.[4]

Harold Paul Fürth
Born(1930-01-13)January 13, 1930
Vienna, Austria
DiedFebruary 21, 2002(2002-02-21) (aged 72)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
EducationHarvard University (B.S., Ph.D.)
Known forResistive magnetohydrodynamics
Scientific career
Fieldsphysics, astrophysics, magnetohydrodynamics, nuclear radiation,[1] controlled thermonuclear fusion[1]
InstitutionsLawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Princeton University

Early lifeEdit

Fürth emigrated to the United States in 1941, and graduated at the head of his class at The Hill School.[5] He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in 1951 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1960.


Fürth worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for several years before going to Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) where he would spend the rest of his career working in plasma physics and nuclear fusion. He was also a professor of astrophysics at Princeton University.[6]

In the late 1960s, Fürth contributed some important theoretical work on resistive magnetohydrodynamics instabilities in a slightly resistive plasma.

In 1981 Fürth became the director at PPPL and led the laboratory until 1990 during record setting magnetic fusion energy experiments on the largest tokamak in the country, the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR).


In 1983, Fürth was awarded the James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics by the American Physical Society.[7] In 1992, he was awarded the Delmer S. Fahrney Medal (now known as the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics) by the Franklin Institute.[8]

Fürth was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


  1. ^ a b "Harold P. Fürth page on The Free Dictionary". Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  2. ^ Chang, Kenneth (2002-02-22). "Harold P. Furth, 72, Dies; Led Fusion Experiments". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-15.
  3. ^ "Professor of astrophysical sciences Harold P. Furth dies". Princeton University. Retrieved 2020-02-15.
  4. ^ Fisch, Nathaniel J.; Fowler, T. Kenneth; Frieman, Edward A.; Goldston, Robert J. (2004). "Harold Paul Furth". Physics Today. 57 (2): 76–77. Bibcode:2004PhT....57b..76F. doi:10.1063/1.1688079. ISSN 0031-9228.
  5. ^ http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/furth-harold-1.pdf
  6. ^ Fürth, Harold (1995) Fusion, Scientific American 273(3), 174-176.
  7. ^ "1983 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 2020-02-15.
  8. ^ "Harold P. Furth". The Franklin Institute. 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2020-02-15.

External linksEdit