Ron Prater

Ron Prater

Ron Prater, born and raised in San Francisco, graduated in 1966 from UC Berkeley with Honors from the Physics Department and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1971 he received his Ph.D. in plasma physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1972 Ron joined the fusion program at General Atomics (GA), San Diego. In 1974 he became the manager of a small experimental program at GA, and in the early 1980s the head of the program that developed and applied the highest power millimeter-wave system in the world at that time. Ron became a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2% of the membership) in 1991. During the 1990’s and 2000’s he covered several roles at the DIII-D tokamak, including Experimental Coordinator, Head of Heating and Current Drive and Head of Integrated Modeling. He was a major contributor to the first realization of Electron Cyclotron Current Drive and to its application to Neoclassical Tearing Mode Stabilization. In the 2010’s he spearheaded a new plasma heating development using “helicon waves”. While based at GA, he worked in Japan, the Soviet Union (later Russia), many countries in Western Europe, South Korea, and China. He retired in 2016 but keeps collaborating with GA on a part-time basis. Ron enjoys traveling, hiking, and is an avid (and, they say, skilled) woodworker.