IN MEMORIAM PROF. GUILLERMO VELARDE
The conference is dedicated to the memory of the outstanding Spanish Physicist and one of the founders of the conference
Professor Chair in Nuclear Physics, Emeritus. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain.
Professor Guillermo Velarde obtained his Master degree in 1952 and his Doctor degree in 1959 at the Polytechnical University of Madrid. In 1956 he started working in the Theoretical Physics Section of the Spanish Atomic Energy Commission (Junta de Energía Nuclear, JEN). Few months later he was sent to the United States to study nuclear physics and reactor theory at Pennsylvania State University and Argonne National Laboratory. Afterwards, he started working in Atomics International of California in a project for the design of a heavy water reactor.
When he returned to Spain to the JEN in the fall 1963, he began research in the field of transport theory, slowing down and thermalisation of neutrons. In 1966 he was appointed professor and in 1973 got the Chair of Nuclear Physics at the Polytechnical University of Madrid, teaching the specialty of quantum mechanics. Simultaneously to this academic activity, Professor Velarde continued his work as researcher of the JEN where he was appointed Director of Advanced Technology in 1974. This direction included the following divisions: Electronics, Engineering, In-Service Reactor Theory and Calculations, and Fusion.
Papers published by J. Nuckolls et al. in 1972 encouraged him to work in inertial nuclear fusion and he started his research in direct-driven targets based on the micropellet of DT with a layer of plutonium. To carry out these studies he organized a small but very competent group with half a dozen of scientists selected among his most brilliant students of his courses on Quantum Mechanics. Their research led to the development of NORCLA code, the first non-classified integrated code, including time-dependent hydrodynamics and realistic neutron-gamma and charge-particles transport with adequate modeling of the energy source from fusion and fission materials. NORCLA was made of two modules: NORMA (for hydrodynamics) and CLARA (for fusion-fission sources and neutron-gamma transport).
In 1976, 1978 and 1980 Professor Velarde and his team submitted successively to the 19th Nuclear Energy Agency Committee in Reactor Physics held in Chalk River (Canada) and published in Atomkernenergie, papers related to Neutronic of Laser Fission-Fusion Systems, and the first descriptions and calculations of/with NORCLA. These were the first papers published on inertial confinement fission-fusion. Since then, different codes have been enlarging the physics in IFE, including radiation-hydro two-dimensional transport, more detailed atomic physics, materials assessment under irradiation and activation & safety, finally arriving to the capability to model the full IFE power reactor as in HiPER and LIFE participation, and in the 80’s the HIBALL and LIBRA conceptual reactors.
In 1981, the JEN decided to devote all its efforts to the magnetic confinement fusion research. Professor Velarde left then the JEN and founded in 1982 the Instituto Fusion Nuclear at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. At that time, the group that had been working with him in inertial fusion left also the JEN and joined the Instituto.
Among other data of interest, Professor Velarde was Commissioner of the Spanish Commission on Space Research (1978-1981). He was Chairman of the Inertial Fusion Energy Coordinating Committee of the EURATOM (1999-2007) and Chairman of seven international conferences. He has published 354 papers on nuclear physics, neutron transport theory and inertial confinement nuclear fusion. He has written the book Quantum Mechanics (McGraw Hill-2002) and is co-editor of other seven books. A key book that had a great impact in ICF/IFE community is Energy from Inertial Fusion edited by IAEA in 1995, that represent the brave pushing of Prof. Velarde to include IFE in the pathways of the IAEA: It is also worth to remark the last one, Inertial Confinement Nuclear Fusion: A Historical Approach by its Pioneers (Foxwell and Davies UK Ltd-2007) which describes for the first time the work carried out by the leading and pioneer scientists in this field during the last 50 years at the main international nuclear laboratories. Euratom considers this book as recommended reading.
A key initiative, supported by leaders of key laboratories in France (CEA), Japan (ILE), Russia (Lebedev), U.K. (RAL), Italy (ENEA), Australia, Germany (MPQ), and signed by about 130 scientists around the World, is the called Madrid Manifesto. In 1988 the European Conference on Laser Interaction with the Matter (ECLIM) was held in Madrid (Spain), organized by the Institute of Nuclear Fusion, and during this conference, its Director, Professor Guillermo Velarde, Chair of the ECLIM, with Dr. Erik Storm from US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) asked all the scientists participating in the ECLIM to sign the Madrid Manifesto requesting declassification of information related to ICF to allow work in energy production for civil applications.
One the most touching moments of his life was when he was invited to Moscow by the Academician Oleg Krokhin to address the memorial lecture on Nobel Laureate Nicolai G. Basov at the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002. At the end of this ceremony, Mrs. Basova gave him Academician Basov’s personal watch as a token of the sincere friendship that both scientists (Basov and Velarde) shared along their lives.
Professor Velarde was the director of the Institute of Nuclear Fusion from 1981 to 2004, being its President till his last days. His Institute has been visited by about 200 international scientists, among them, Edward Teller and five Nobel Prize laureates: Rudolph Mossbauer, Leo Esaki, Nicolai G. Basov, Jack Steinberg and Carlo Rubbia and, upon the request of Professor Velarde, the Universidad Politécnica Madrid granted the Honoris Causa Doctorate to Professors Mossbauer, Esaki, Basov and Rubbia.
He has been granted with 7 national awards (Virgen de Loreto, Vara del Rey, two Carlos Haya, Garcia Morato and Awards to the Research Work and his Research Team granted by the Universidad Politécnica Madrid).
In 1997 he was awarded with the Edward Teller Award as recognition of his research in Inertial Fusion Energy, and in 1998 Professor Velarde received the Archie H. Arms Award for his work in emerging nuclear energy systems. In 2011 he was granted with the Award Marqués de Santa Cruz de Marcenado in recognition to a life devoted to the scientific research.
In 2007 he was elected Member of the European Academy of Sciences.
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