University of Texas
David Ward Ross
August 11, 1937–



David and Sara Ross


David Ward Ross   
Dave Ross served the University of Texas from 1966 until his retirement in 2003.  After teaching for two years, he became a Research Scientist in 1968 and, in 1974, Assistant Director for Theory of the Center for Plasma Physics and Thermonuclear Research, later renamed the Fusion Research Center (FRC).  When the Institute for Fusion Studies (IFS) was formed in 1980, he served as Assistant Director for both groups until 1983, when Richard Hazeltine replaced him in the IFS. He became Associate Director of the FRC in 1991 and continued in that role until his retirement. His principal research interests were plasma micro-instabilities and turbulence, including drift waves and trapped particle modes, as well as Alfven waves.  The FRC Theory group was dedicated to supporting the experimental work of the center.  The following is a personal account of his life. 


I was born on August 11, 1937, in Detroit, Michigan, to Albert Ward Ross, Jr. (Ward), and Edna Ruth Parker Ross (Eddie). 

Ward, Dave Edna, Chuck, 1938
Ward and Eddie met at Ohio State University, where she majored in Journalism and he in Civil Engineering.  Ward was also a member of the track team, specializing in the half-mile run, and a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.  Eddie was active in many organizations, becoming managing editor of The Lantern, the college paper, and a member of the Phi Mu sorority.  Ward completed a master’s thesis, Wind Stresses in Tall Buildings, which involved measurements and calculations during the construction of the American Insurance Union Building in Columbus. Following their marriage in 1927, they moved to Dearborn, Michigan, and later to Detroit. Ward worked for the Ford Motor Company, where he helped design the Ford Trimotor Airplane. My brother, Charles Parker Ross (Chuck), was born on September 22, 1930. More about Ward and Eddie and our family history can be found here:

Albert Ward Ross, Jr.

Edna Ruth Parker Ross

During the war years, Detroit was a bustling city of two million, devoted to the construction of military vehicles, aircraft, and other weapons, “The Arsenal of Democracy.” My dad had moved to the Chrysler Corporation by this time and contributed to the fuselage design of the Martin B-26 bomber. My mom was an emergency driver for the Red Cross, with a gas mask and first aid kit, but was never called upon to drive.  Despite the turbulence of those years, my life seemed comfortable and safe. The war itself was far away.  Being seven years older, my brother and his friends adopted me as a sort of mascot.  This involved some teasing - “Keep away from Dave” was a common ball game.  I looked up to them and could hardly wait until I was old enough to join the Boy Scouts.  Chuck advanced to the rank of Eagle, and I followed seven years later. My grandmother lived with us, and we were good friends, she being my principal baby sitter.

Chuck, Lena Ross (Grandma), and Dave,
around 1946
Edna, Dave, Ward and Chuck, around 1949 in front of our house, 14348 Rosemont Road, Detroit. (This house is still visible on Google Street View.)

In school, I could not read for a couple of months in the first grade. My mother was angry that they had waited to inform her that I had failed an earlier eye test. After being fitted with glasses, I quickly moved up to the first reading group – but was always embarrassed about being a “four eyes.” A 1906 edition of The Book of Knowledge, Chuck’s discarded chemistry set, and his 9th grade algebra text stimulated my interest in science and math.  My friend, Tom Tullsen, and I spent many hours in his basement, where he made electrical gadgets and had one of the earliest hi-fi sets.  In my basement, we performed chemistry experiments. Attempting to learn qualitative analysis, we produced a number of stinks, which my parents complained about, being blissfully ignorant of the lethal potential of hydrogen sulfide.  (Someone gave us potent samples of iron sulfide, and I was allowed to purchase sulfuric and hydrochloric acids from the drug store. Can I possibly be remembering this correctly?) We also, rather dangerously, distilled almost pure nitric acid from sulfuric acid and potassium nitrate.

Beginning in high school in the ninth grade, I discovered that I could actually get good grades.

Sports, nature, and fishing were always part of our life.  Dad was a merit badge counselor for Athletics and Bird Study merit badges.  He only had two weeks vacation each summer, which we spent swimming and fishing on East Twin Lake near Lewiston, Michigan.  Mom, of course was stuck with the housekeeping: cooking on a kerosene stove, pumping water by hand, and keeping food in an ice box.  I was impressed when we went to town for ice and learned that they could keep it in sawdust since cutting it from the lake in the winter. Later, from 1948 on, we vacationed with the Hess family at Camp Agawaten near Golden Lake, Ontario. They had a lodge and served meals.  The women could then spend their time shopping for duty-free items like china and woolens, while the men fished.

Dave, Ward, Arleigh Hess, and Bruce Hess, at Golden Lake
Howie McClain, Dave, Jim Beauchamp, Scout Camp 1951
Joyce, Chuck, Lena Ross (Grandma), Edna, Ward, Dave at Golden Lake 1951

By 1951, in addition to the Golden Lake vacations, I was going to Scout Camp and earning merit badges. By then, Chuck was engaged to Joyce Phillips, who joined us at Golden Lake, and whom he married in 1952.  They were married for 52 years until his death in 2004.

At home, a group of us gathered after school nearly every day for pickup games of softball, touch football, and basketball, depending on the season. Attempts to make an ice rink in Detroit usually failed because it would snow before the ice hardened.  I never did learn to skate. We would play basketball in icy driveways, not having access to a gym after school hours.  These games continued through high school.  My only varsity sports were track and cross-country.  My favorite high school memory is my one and only win in the 440 yard dash and finally earning a letter my senior year.  On this basis, plus my grade average, I was awarded the “scholar-athlete trophy.”

I also took clarinet lessons through the eighth grade and continued playing in high school band.  I can still remember the fingerings of Sousa’s Washington Post March, which we memorized during the football season, and which I grew thoroughly sick of. I eventually moved up to first chair in the concert band for one semester, and spent one summer in the Wayne University all-city band.

Redford High Track Team 1955. Dave Ross 2nd row 3rd from left.


Dave with scholar-athlete trophy, 1955
Dave, Redford High School yearbook, The Blazer, June 1955. 

For more school pictures see:

Edison School and Redford High School Pictures

University of Michigan 

In 1955, although my parents were Ohio State Buckeyes, I enrolled at Michigan, majoring in physics. Having picked up some of my mother’s eclectic interests, I also enjoyed electives in Shakespeare, economics, and Russian language.  I had been active in the youth group of the Congregational Church and so joined the Congregational/Disciples Guild, where I met Sara Schumacher, an Ann Arbor native, whose father had a medical practice there.  My roommate Phil and I vied for her attention, and it took a while for me to learn that she liked me better. 

Sara Schumacher and Dave Ross, The Michiganensian yearbook, June 1959.


I became a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity to join my high-school friend Jack Locker (later a math Professor at Colorado State). Some of my fraternity brothers were varsity football and baseball players, and some were the first in their working-class families to attend college.  I learned some things about the real world.  We were a poor chapter, always struggling to make ends meet.  Sara and I graduated on June 13, 1959, and were married on June 14 (Flag Day.) Wedding photo shown below.

Sara and Dave Ross wedding, June 14, 1959.

We spent that summer in North Augusta, SC, where I had a summer job at the Savannah River Laboratory. My supervisor was doing Monte Carlo calculations of nuclear reactivity.  He had to travel to Princeton to run 5,000 particles on an IBM 704. My brother Chuck worked as a Chemical Engineer at Savannah River, investigating trans-uranic isotopes.  I had stayed with him and his family the previous summer, while working at one of the remote reactor sites.

Harvard University.

Having been awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship, I was admitted to Harvard graduate school, and we moved to Cambridge in September 1959. I took courses from such luminaries as Julian Schwinger, Norman Ramsey, Roy Glauber, Robert Pound, George Carrier, Walter Gilbert, Paul Martin, and Kurt Gottfried.  Edward Purcell was my first year advisor. I was there when Pound and Rebka performed their measurement of the gravitational redshift.  Eventually, under the direction of Martin and Gottfried, I produced a dissertation on collisional broadening of spectral lines, employing the quantum many-body formulation of Martin and Schwinger, and obtained a PhD in 1964. This work was later published in Annals of Physics (New York) 36, 458 (1966).

(Note by Mel Oakes: In the summer of 1963 Dave Ross, while working for the Air Force Optical Laboratory published a report on the "Interference Properties of Photons", in the report he provided a quantum explanation for the Brown-Twiss experiment. He had done the work the previous summer while at the same laboratory. Sadly his supervisor did not encourage him to publish his finding until the next summer, denying him some priority for this important contribution to quantum photo coherence question. More details and the report along with a letter from Professor Emil Wolf of Rochester can be found here: Interference Properties of Photons)

Our two children were born while we were in Cambridge, Michael in 1960 and Andrew in 1962.  Mike has a PhD from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and is now an engineer, working in Palm Bay, Florida.  Andy has a PhD in physics from UT, having studied with Manfred Fink. Later he attended Baylor Medical School and is now an ophthalmologist in Austin. 

Andy, Mike and Sara, visit to Nantucket Island, 1964.

University of Illinois

In the fall of 1964, we moved to Champaign-Urbana, where I had a postdoctoral fellowship with David Pines. I had expected to turn to solid-state physics and became acquainted with John Bardeen, as well as Leo Kadanoff, and Gordon Baym, whom I had known at Harvard. Pines, however, steered me toward plasma physics, and, through his acquaintance with Bill Drummond, encouraged me to apply to Texas, where Bill was building a plasma group. At Illinois, I began studying plasma instabilities and turbulence, which became the focus of my career.  This effort was stimulated by the work that Pines and Drummond had done at General Atomics.
In the summer of 1965, I attended a summer school on quantum transport theory in Banff, Alberta, where I met Pete Antoniewicz. (See the canoeing pictures in Pete’s biography)  Pete was about to move from Purdue to UT, where I joined him the following year. In Banff, I also met Marlan Scully, who later became famous for quantum optics and laser theory. Sara and I returned to Banff in 1975, where I lectured at a plasma physics confeerence, and again on vacation in 1985.



Dave reading Tolkien Champaign-Urbana, 1965
Dave, Andy, Mike, 1965
Andy and Sara 1965


In the middle of February 1966, I visited Austin for the first time for an interview with Bill Drummond.  Coming from the frozen North, I was excited to smell Spring, in the air.  Later that Spring I received an offer to join the center that was to become the FRC.  In September of 1966, we drove down from Illinois, arriving without AC on a 100-degree day. We appreciated cold drinks and a respite from the heat from our new neighbors, the Rowleys. This was two weeks after the Whitman Tower shooting.  Our Illinois friends were questioning our decision to come here. We rented a house that, by coincidence, was right next door to Tom Griffy and his family on Pioneer Place.  I joined Bill Drummond, Dick Aamodt, Alan MacMahon, Erick Lindman, Wendell Horton, Fred Hinton, Vernon Wong and Ken Gentle in the FRC.  We were quickly joined from England by Roy Bickerton, Bertie Robson, and John Sheffield, who initiated shock wave experiments. Ken Gentle also began work on instabilities driven by fast electrons, first in straight tubes, later in the Texas Turbulent Torus experiment. We had a loose association with Hans Schlüter and Mel Oakes, who had previously established plasma physics at UT. Roger Bengtson, Hank Strauss and Alan Ware also arrived during this period. For more information on the plasma research at UT see Fusion Research Center.

One of my first projects was to make use of my graduate training to show that the weak turbulence theory of Drummond and Pines and Aamodt and Drummond could be obtained by the methods of quantum many-body theory, Phys. Fluids 12, 613 (1969).  The basic processes of three-wave scattering and nonlinear Landau damping could be represented by Feynman diagrams. (Schwinger would probably have objected to this nomenclature.) I also taught for a couple of years, before turning to full time research and administration: Freshman electricity and magnetism, senior level quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Jim Wiley was a student in the latter course. He later did a thesis with Fred Hinton, wrote the first tokamak transport simulation code and ultimately became my go-to computational specialist in the FRC. I also gave a course in plasma turbulence, where I met Lee Sloan and Bob Thompson, who became lifetime collaborators with Drummond at Austin Research Associates (ARA).

In the Spring of 1970, Bill arranged for Lee Sloan, Fred Hinton and me to travel with our families to Trieste, Italy, where a five-months-long workshop was led by Marshall Rosenbluth and Boris Kadomtsev at the International Center for Theoretical Physics.  It was there that I began my collaboration with Rosenbluth, which continued during the 1970–71 academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. This resulted in what is probably my most-cited paper: Stability Regions of Dissipative Trapped-ion Instability, Rosenbluth, Ross, and Kostamarov, Nucl. Fusion 12, 3 (1972). While in Trieste, I also collaborated on a paper with Oleg Pogutse {Kadomtsev’s long time associate}, Stabilizing Effect of a High-frequency Magnetic Field on the Trapped-particle Instabilit}D.W. Ross and O. P. Pogutse, Nucl. Fusion 11, 127 (1971).

Andy and Mike at Castello Miramare, Trieste, 1970
In Trieste, our kids attended a school, which was supposed to bring together English-speaking and Italian kids.  This effort didn’t work very well, and the children ended up in separate classes.  While in Italy, we managed a fair amount of sightseeing. A family railroad pass was not expensive, and we visited Venice, Verona, Florence, Pisa, and Rome.  Sara’s parents and sister Debbie joined us on one of these trips.


In Princeton, I met Richard Hazeltine, who was working with Rosenbluth and Hinton on neoclassical transport. Richard came to the FRC in 1971 about the same time that I returned from Princeton.

Disclaimer: the following includes my personal take on the history of the FRC and the IFS. It is far from complete, and any errors are the result of my faulty memory.


The Fusion Research Center

Returning to Texas in September 1971, I continued work on drift and trapped particle modes, collaborating at various times with Wendell Horton and students, Tom Gladd and William “Buff” Miner, as well as Richard Hazeltine, Fred Hinton, Swadesh Mahajan, Hank Strauss, and Princeton physicists, Bill Tang and J. C. Adam. The move to the new physics-math-astronomy building (later RLM) and the installation and dedication of the Texas Turbulent Torus took place in 1972. Bill Drummond was instrumental in getting the basement laboratory added to the RLM plan.  In the summer of 1972, we spent a couple of months at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where I worked with Gareth Guest and Jim Callen. We had acquired a dog by then, and during our first evening in a rental house, he tangled with a skunk.

Around 1974, Bill decided he needed help in the management of the FRC and requested my appointment as Assistant Director for Theory.  Ken Gentle managed the Experimental Group.  Thereafter, I managed the accounts and organized proposal writing to the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission), later ERDA (Energy Research and Development Administration), and still later the DOE (Department of Energy).

During the 1970s, the FRC Theory Group made major contributions to magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), classical and neoclassical transport work (the Ware pinch, for example), micro-instabilities and anomalous transport, including both analytical and numerical calculations. Swadesh Mahajan joined us during this time. I recall commenting to Steve Dean at the DOE that our group, though small, was man-for-man as good as any in the country. (Yes, we were all men at the time.) Steve replied that my remark was “self-serving.” Well, yes, but true, nonetheless.

The 1970s also gave me further opportunities for international travel and meeting well-known physicists from around the world.  In 1974, I attended the 5th International Conference on Plasma Physics and Nuclear Fusion in Tokyo. Afterward, I was invited by Professor Masatada Ogasawara to speak at Keio University in Yokohama.  He had previously visited Austin.  On a Saturday morning, 25 students showed up to hear a lecture in English. At least 3 of them exhibited enough knowledge of the subject to ask pertinent questions. 

Tokyo, 1974. Boris Kadomtsev (USSR) conversing with Paul Rutherford and Harold Furth (Princeton).

Keio University, Yokohama, 1974. Dave Ross and M. Ogasawara with students.

In 1978, I also delivered a paper at the 7th International Conference on Plasma Physics and Nuclear Fusion in Innsbruck, Austria.  The choice of paper submission was rather political. Each country, given a quota, had to make a selection. The goal of the US selection committee was to ensure the widest possible geographic and institutional diversity.  Thus, our paper, a collaboration of Ross, Strauss, Mahajan, Hazeltine, and Hinton, on Tearing, Twisting and Ballooning Modes was combined with that of Bruno Coppi of MIT on 2nd Stability in MHD.  The latter was an important newly discovered phenomenon, which I knew nothing about. Ed Frieman, chairman of the U. S. committee, asked me to deliver the combined paper. After fruitlessly querying Bruno all summer for more information, I finally received his manuscript, in Innsbruck, the day before my talk. I spent several hours trying to understand it and revising my vuegraphs.  My presentation was not a success. After this meeting, several us traveled by train to Trieste for a workshop, where I was able to revisit some of my old haunts. I also attended a workshop in Tokyo in 1980.

The Institute for Fusion Studies

About 1978, Ed Kintner at the DOE decided there was “something wrong with theory” and requested proposals for a new center of excellence.  This was to be an independent, multi-disciplinary group, not tied to any particular experimental program. We competed for this grant with the University of Maryland and other institutions.  Richard Hazeltine and I led the writing effort, while Bill Drummond went about recruiting. He managed to convince Marshall Rosenbluth to leave the Maryland proposal and join ours.  Thus, we won the grant, and the Institute for Fusion Studies was established in 1980.  Six FRC members became members of the IFS, while the non-faculty portions of their support were retained on the FRC grant.  These were Bill Drummond, Alan Ware, Richard Hazeltine, Dave Ross, Wendell Horton and Fred Hinton. According to my recollection, Strauss had already left for NYU by then. Since the 11th floor of RLM was being remodeled at the time, new members of the IFS, including Rosenbluth, the Director, were temporarily housed in an old building across 26th street, which was later torn down. Among the new members were Phil Morrison, Herb Berk, Kim Molvig, John Cary, Toshi Tajima, Pat Diamond, James Van Dam, Ahmet Aydemir, Phillipe Similon, Jim Meiss, and Ken Swartz. [others?] Diamond and Van Dam had been Marshall’s post-docs at UC San Diego. Eventually, we were all housed on the 11th floor of RLM.  I became the Assistant Director of the IFS, thus acquiring a second job. In 1983, Richard Hazeltine took over as Assistant Director, allowing me to focus on FRC research.

Here, I will say no more about the IFS, except to note that Rosenbluth and Diamond departed for UCSD in 1987, and afterward, David Baldwin, Richard Hazeltine, James Van Dam, and Francois Waelbroeck served successively as directors.

The 1980s, TEXT, PRETEXT, Alfven Waves, and Travels

As the IFS was getting started, the TEXT tokamak was under construction in the basement of RLM. It was dedicated in 1981 and was devoted to the study of turbulence and transport in ohmically-heated plasmas.  The Fusion Research Center Theory group focused attention on supporting the experimental program. We participated in studies presented by Gentle et al. in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 26, 1407 (1984) and Brower et al. at the 10th International Conference in London 1984.

At about the same time, a smaller device, the PRETEXT tokamak was constructed on the 12th floor by Roger Bengtson, Jay Benesch, and Keith Carter. Mel Oakes and Prashant Valanju collaborated on this work. Valanju later joined the FRC Theory Group.  My recollection is that our theoretical studies of Alfvén waves were stimulated both by this work and by encouragement from Akira Hasegawa, who was then at Bell Labs. He was a strong proponent of Alfvén waves as a possible heating mechanism for tokamaks. In 1981, we proposed using Alfvén waves to measure the magnetic field rotation index q, as reported in Mahajan et al. FRC Report #223 (1981).  We were quite proud of this idea, but our paper was rejected for publication on the grounds that the experiment had not been performed. I believe it was later done in Lausanne, Switzerland.

I visited the Physics Institute in Ahmedabad India in February 1982 at the invitation of A. K. Sundaram and Abijit Sen. Sundaram had visited Austin previously. There I lectured on our Alfvén wave studies and had a chance to visit Dehli and Agra, including the Taj Mahal.  Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar visited the institute during my stay. At a reception after his talk, students gathered around, and he said, “Why don’t you ask me some questions?”


A. K. Sundaram, Ahmedabad, India 1982
Abijit Sen, Ahmedabad, India, 1982

S. Chandrasekhar, Ahmedabad, India 1982
He shared the Nobel Prize the following year.

Roger Bengtson presented experimental and theoretical work on Alfv´´n waves at the 2nd Joint Varenna-Grenoble Symposium on Heating in Tokamaks, held in Grenoble, France in 1982, and the 4th Symposium, held in London 1984. Sara and I attended the 1982 Grenoble meeting and afterward visited Lausanne, Switzerland, where Kurt Appert had invited me to speak. A brief tour took us up the Jungfraujoch by cog railway, to Bern, where we attended a violin recital by Itzhak Perlman, and to Zurich.
During the mid-1980s, Swadesh and I continued our Alfveén-wave studies, with students Gwo-Liang Chen, Yan-Ming Lee, and Wann-Quan Lee.  Numerical calculations investigated the possibility of tokamak heating with externally driven waves and instabilities driven by high-energy particles. We uncovered a resonance that was later shown, by the Lausanne group, to be a global Alfvén eigenmode. Collaboration with experimentalists was always my greatest joy. I was particularly pleased with a study of antenna effects and boundary conditions stimulated by Bob Michie’s unique insight: Nucl. Fusion 26, 139 (1986.)

In 1985, Alan Wootton arrived to become the Assistant Director and head of the TEXT project. Later, he became the Director of the FRC.  He brought with him Phil Edmonds as chief engineer, and Emilia Solano joined the Theory Group as our MHD expert. The focus of the program continued to be on plasma confinement studies with detailed diagnostics. The theory group contributed MHD equilibria, turbulence and transport studies, and assistance with data analysis. Edge physics studies were carried out by Christophe Ritz, whom I had met earlier in Lausanne.

Measurements of density fluctuations, for example, provide important clues to the nature of anomalous transport.  We worked with the Rensselaer group, Hickok et al., to help analyze the effects of collisions on the heavy-ion beam probe. Lee Sloan came over from ARA to provide a crucial contribution to this work. As time went o,n we applied the gyro-fluid code of Mike Beer and the gyro-kinetic code of Mike Kotschenreuther and Bill Dorland to study the expected particle and energy transport. I collaborated strongly with Ron Bravenec on this work.

Soon, plans were underway to upgrade TEXT to include a magnetic divertor and attempt to obtain the H-mode (high confinement mode). In 1989, Emilia Solano and I travelled to Gut Ising, Germany, for an H-mode Conference, hosted by Friedrich Wagner of the Max Planck Institute. I don’t recall whether H-mode conditions were actually achieved on TEXT.

Wayne Houlberg (ORNL), Emilia Solano, Nermin Uckan (ORNL), Dave Ross in Gut Ising, Germany, 1989.

Afterward, there was a meeting in Munich, and then I visited my son Andy, who was studying atomic physics in Kaiserslautern. He was in Berlin when the wall came down but missed a chance to go see it.

Andrew Ross, Kaiserslautern, Germany, 1989.

Later that same summer, Sara and I toured Germany, visiting Andy, seeing the Heidelberg and Neuschwanstein Castles, and riding to the top of the Zugspitze peak, near Berchtesgaden.

The 1990s, TEXT to China, collaboration with other labs, and proposal writing

I believe the contributions of the TEXT research to the national fusion program were, dollar-for-dollar, just as substantial as those of other major programs. (Another “self-serving” statement.) There were many more people and good projects than I can even outline here.  Sometime around 1993, the DOE announced that all the University research experiments were to be shut down.  I recall David Crandall telling us that all were encouraged to submit new proposals, which could be for “anything but a tokamak.”  In my opinion, this was an unfortunate setback in the program. When TEXT was shut down, the machine was sent to China and continued to contribute to the world fusion effort. Ken Gentle, Roger Bengtson and Bill Rowan [others?] travelled to China to collaborate with the Chinese scientists.

Led by Alan Wootton, our response was to propose a “spherical torus,” This could be called a “fat tokamak” or “small aspect-ratio tokamak”, but we weren’t allowed to say that. We worked very hard under Steve McCool’s daily direction to produce what I thought was an excellent proposal.  In the theory group, Emilia Solano provided equilibria, and I worked with Wiley, Miner, and Valanju on transport estimates. Our device was to be medium-sized and cost about $10M.  At the same time, Princeton proposed a larger $30M machine, and Wisconsin a $3M device.  Of course, the Princeton National Laboratory was funded for what became the ST device, and there was enough money available for Wisconsin, but we were shut out. I was pleased that my transport estimates, when applied to the Princeton design, were about the same as theirs.

Following this setback, Alan Wootton turned to colleagues at Oak Ridge (where Alan, Phil, and Emilia had worked previously), Steve Hirshman, Ben Carreras, Don Spong and others to collaborate on a new idea for a stellarator-tokamak hybrid, or torsatron-tokamak hybrid.  The Oak Ridge version was called SMARTH (Small Aspect Ratio Toroidal Hybrid), which, in my recollection, was largely Steve Hirshman’s brainchild.  He was the author of a 3-dimensional MHD equilibrium code that Emilia used. We explored various equilibria for optimized configurations for a device to be called Epeius: Ross et al. Plasma Phys. Reports 23, 492 (1997). We drew heavily on the work of Kerchung Shaing to obtain confinement estimates. One innovative approach was Buff Miner’s effort to apply the genetic algorithm to optimize the coil configuration. Although this proposal also failed to receive funding, we continued to provide theoretical support to the Oak Ridge stellarator work, and, to a lesser extent to the Princeton effort that led to the NCSX device.

The 2000s and retirement.

As the local experimental program at UT wound down, the FRC experimentalists continued their work on diagnostics and data analysis at MIT (the ALCATOR tokamak) and General Atomics (DIII-D). Alan Wootton departed for Livermore in 2003. Recently, he has been back at Texas part time, consulting with Todd Ditmire. The FRC theory program, having no local experiment to support, also gradually dwindled. In 2003, I decided to retire rather than apply for a continuation of our grant. Jim Van Dam, then Director of the IFS, arranged with Steve Eckstrand at DOE for some of our funds to be transferred to the IFS, so that Jim Wiley and Prashant Valanju could continue their work. Swadesh Mahajan had joined the IFS during Rosenbluth’s tenure.  During the last few years, I continued to participate in the turbulence simulation projects, attempting to compare the results with fluctuation and transport data from the the MIT and GA machines. My last efforts in this direction were published as Ross, Bravenec, Dorland, et al. Phys. Plasmas 9, 177 (2002), and Ross and Dorland Phys. Plasmas 9, 5031 (2002).  I continued to work informally for another year or so, and my final presentations were given in 2004 at the Sherwood Theory Conference in Missoula MT and, shortly thereafter, the Transport Task Force Meeting in Salt Lake City.

Around 2000, I participated in a task force to prepare a proposal for “Integrated Simulation & Optimization of Fusion Systems.” The panel was led by Jill Dahlburg of General Atomics and included participants from both the Fusion and the Computer Science fields. The idea was to spend $40M or so per year to pull together physical processes and external sources at all space and time scales into one big simulation project.  The final report may be found here: Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee-Panel on Integrate Simulation and Optimization of Magnetic Fusion Systems. This was my last collaboration with Marshall Rosenbluth. I helped to write the Appendix to this proposal, which described the state of the art at that time.  I have not found an on-line posting of this document, which I think was an excellent summary. The project was not funded, but similar efforts have continued since then.

Family Life and Vacations.

In the mid-1980s, with the children grown up, Sara and I began taking summer camping and hiking vacations. In 1985 and 1986, we returned to the Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper, and the Columbian Ice fields. In 1987 and 1988, we ventured into Alaska, visiting Anchorage, Fairbanks, Denali National Park, and ultimately Prudhoe Bay, following the pipeline by bus. As noted earlier, we went to Germany in 1989.  In 1990, we purchased a camper, and for more than 20 years made annual excursions to New Mexico, Colorado and beyond. Some of these are illustrated, along with links to other photo arrays here:

As of 2017, we continue to live in our home on Lexington Road, where we moved in 1968. I drive to the University three times a week to meet with Richard Hazeltine, walk over to the stadium to exercise at Belmont Hall, and occasionally attend seminars and colloquia. We have remained active in the Congregational Church of Austin. We still take two-day camping trips to nearby state parks and summer trips to cooler areas.

As an Anniversary gift, Andy and Leslie gave us a balloon ride, which we took in September 2009. Larry Shepley happened to choose that very same day for a balloon ride.


David and Sara Ross Photo Album

Dave and Sara Ross, Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, June 29, 2009

Dave and Sara Ross Wedding

L to R: Caroline Schumacher (Sara’s sister, now Caroline Speer), Susan Schumacher (Sara’s sister, now Susan Heath)
Helen Skolas (maid of honor, Sara’s roommate), Sara, Deborah Schumacher (Sara’s sister), Dave,
Richard Silbar (Dave’s colleague, retired LANL physicist), Charles Ross (Dave’s brother Chuck)
Daniel Schumacher (Sara’s brother), Jack Locker (Dave’s colleague and fraternity brother, retired math professor at Colorado State)

Mel Oakes and Dave Ross, off to plasma conference, Sara Ross, right, November 1969
For future reference, that is a small briefcase under Dave's arm.
(Photo by Pat Oakes)

Physics Faculty 1969
Back Row: (L to R), Charles Watson, Eugene Ivash, Alfred Schild, Emmett Hudspeth, Peter Riley, Claude Horton Sr., Lothar Frommhold, Robert Beck Clark, Robert N. Little, Frits DeWette.

Third Row: (L to R), Melvin Oakes, David Ross, Mike Haggarty, Albert R. Exton, William Kinnersley, Richard Matzner, Jurgen Ehlers, Tom Griffy, Otto Christian Astrup Bastiansen

Second Row: (L to R), Larry Shepley, Taro Tamura, William Schieve, Wilson Nolle, W. Eugene Couch, John Sheffied, Gernot Decker, William E. Drummond

Front Row: (L to R), Masao Yamada, Russell Davidson, J. Rae, Arnold Lopez-Cepero, James C. Thompson, William McCormick, Leonard Kleinman, Harold P. Hanson

Physics Faculty 1970
Back Row: (L to R), Robert N. Little (in profile), Lothar W. Frommhold (obscured), Leonard Kleinman, Robert Beck Clark, Fred Hinton, Alan Gibson, Russell L. Collins, Larry C. Shepley, William D. McCormick

Fourth Row:(L to R), Eric Sheldon ( glasses), Arno Bohm, Claude W. Horton, Sr., Alan B. MacMahon, Roger Bengtson, C. Wendall Horton, Masao Yamada, William Rienstra (moustached), Linda E. Reichl, L. Mike Simmons (bearded in profile), John Rae (glasses), Austin M. Gleeson (obscured), Henry “Hank” Strauss (with pipe)

Third Row: (L to R), John David Gavenda, Rui Vilela Mendes, Manfred Fink, Henry Vernon Wong, Arnold B. Lopez-Cepero, John Sheffied, Ken W. Gentle, Rüdiger Göbel (white shirt), M. G. Velarde (glasses)

Second Row: (L to R), A. Wilson Nolle (obscured), Peter J. Riley, James Norman Bardsley, David W. Ross, Philip F. Little, Patrick Richard, Thomas A Griffy, Peter R. Antoniewicz, Guiseppe Maiella (bearded)

Front Row: (L to R), Frederik W. “Frits” DeWette (Chair), Cary Davids, Robert J. Moore, Alfred Schild, E. George Sudarshan, Dieter Brill, Robert J. Yaes, Michael G. Gundzik, Ronald G. Parsons

Buon viaggio to Dave and Sara Ross's trip to Trieste--Tommie Pinkard looking on, March, 1970
(Photo by Pat Oakes)

Andy and Mike at Castello Miramare, Trieste, 1970

With Sara’s parents and sister, Venice 1970

Andy and Mike, Florence 1970

Sister Debbie and Papa and Mama Schumacher with Sara,
Verona 1970

Andy and Michael Ross,
Rome, Piazza Navona, 1970

Andy, Dave, Michael
Three coins in the fountain, Rome 1970
Contemplative Dave, Thanksgiving, 1974
(Photo by Pat Oakes)
David Ross, University of Texas
Swadash Mahajan and David Ross, University of Texas
Sara and Dave, 40th anniversary, June 14, 1999
(Photo by Pat Oakes)
Dave and Sara, Red Cloud summit, Colorado, 14,034 feet, our last “fourteener” 2002.

Dave Ross retirement January 15, 2003.  Dave, Jim Wiley, Mel Oakes, and Peter Riley.
(Photo by Pat Oakes)

Michael, Andy, Leslie Poer, Dave, and Sara, June 14, 2009, our 50th anniversary and the 25th of Andy and Leslie.
As an Anniversary gift, Andy and Leslie gave us a balloon ride, which we took in September 2009.
Larry Shepley happened to choose that very same day for a balloon ride.
(Photo by Pat Oakes)

Dave, Sara and Larry Shepley coming in for a landing.
September 8, 2009. (Photo by Andy Ross)
Dave, Sara preparing for take-off
September 8, 2009. (Photo by Andy Ross)

Celebrating a safe landing: pilot David Smuck, Dave, Sara, a young couple in love, and Larry Shepley.
September 8, 2009. (Photo by Andy Ross)

Dave, and Sara, June 14, 2009, our 50th anniversary
Congregational Church of Austin

Roger Bengtson, Dave Ross, Mel Oakes, Vernon Wong (retirement party), Ken Gentle, Wendell Horton, Bill Drummond
(Photo by Pat Oakes)

Example of Dave and Sara's bird pictures
Example of Dave and Sara's butterflies and flowers pictures
Silver Strings of Austin, Sara Ross, fourth from right on back row
Sara plays violin and viola, 2016
Joyful Noise Band, 2012
Fran Briggs, Sara Ross, Leslie Poer, Dave Ross (recorder), Nodie Murphy (back)
(Photo by Pat Oakes)
Joyful Noise Band, 2012
Barbara Burnham, piano, Andy Ross, oboe, Robin Rosson, cello, Julia Rosson, flute, Rambie Briggs, accordian
(Photo by Pat Oakes)


^Back to Top^