Leigh Winfrey Named as New Editor of Fusion Science & Technology Magazine

Dr. Winfrey Named Editor of Fusion Science and Technology

The American Nuclear Society has appointed Leigh Winfrey, Ph.D., Fusion Science and Technology editor.

Winfrey is an associate professor in the Nuclear Engineering Program within the Department of Materials Science & 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 also works in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) 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 Applied Research and Science Laboratory at UF.

Fusion Science and Technology (FS&T) is one of three American Nuclear Society technical journals published by the 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 very 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 a philosophical and scientific tone for the 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 results from higher demands for energy and countries moving away from fossil-fuel-based power.

Winfrey said she made a list of challenges just 10 years ago for making fusion power a reality, and 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 development and governments have begun investing more in fusion. In addition, several private companies have also entered the market, 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 Fusion Science and Technology editor,” said Jim Baciak, Ph.D., 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 on our entire program.”

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

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 not-for-profit focused on unifying nuclear science and technology fields. 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.