Inertial Fusion Veteran Guillermo Velarde Passes

January 31, 2018

Professor Guillermo Velarde passed away on January 12, 2018, in Madrid, Spain.

He was Professor Chair of Nuclear Physics since 1973 (the first one in the University) at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid at the Industrial Engineering College (Energy) and General of Division of the Spanish Air Force.

Prof. Velarde started as early as 1958 at the Spanish Atomic Energy Commission (Junta de Energía Nuclear, JEN). Very early in the 70’s he pushed forward research in Inertial Confinement Fusion Physics with an small and outstanding group developing several integrated/coupled codes for Radiation-Hydrodynamic and Particle Transport Physics (NORMA, CLARA and NORCLA) to study the implosion and burning of fusion-fission and pure fusion targets. The results of these codes were published in different papers from 1976 onwards and they had a large international impact among the fusion scientific community, attracting the interest of laboratories such as Kernforchungszentrun Karlsruhe, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Institute of Laser Engineering Osaka University, Lebedev Institute Moscow and Commissariat l’Energie Atomique France. The history of those early activities of Inertial Confinement Fusion Research was published with original articles and contributions from the protagonists in the book Inertial Confinement Fusion: A Historical Approach by its Pioneers that he edited in 2007.

In 1981 Guillermo Velarde, with the invaluable support of Vice-President of the Spanish Government, Captain General Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado and Lieutenant General of the Air Force, Ignacio Alfaro Arregui, Joint Chief of Staff, founded the INSTITUTO DE FUSION NUCLEAR (IFN) within the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales. From its beginnings the IFN started a high international level of scientific relationships in the different research fields associated to obtain energy from Inertial Confinement Fusion. This effort played a key influential role and developed support inside the EURATOM decision committees to maintain the “Keep-in-Touch Project” in Inertial Fusion Energy along successive Frameworks (V, VI, VII) Programmes, including the present project “Towards Inertial Fusion Energy.” Professor Velarde also reinforced the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the area of Laser Fusion Energy. He, together with other outstanding scientists, wrote the IAEA book “Energy from Inertial Fusion” and boosted several successive and successful IAEA Coordinated Research Projects in Inertial Fusion.

He was an original member to the Organizational Committees of key Conferences in Nuclear Fusion, such as the International Conference on Emerging Nuclear Energy Systems (ICENES), European Conference on Laser Interactions with Matter (ECLIM), Inertial Fusion Science and Applications (IFSA).

In 1988, Guillermo Velarde (IFN) and Eric Storm (LLNL) suggested the signature of the Madrid Manifesto during the ECLIM Conference that was held in Madrid. The Madrid Manifesto proposed an open international collaboration in ICF. The Manifesto received immediate and enthusiastic support of significant ICF leaders, C. Yamanaka (ILE Osaka, Japan), R. Dautray (CEA France), V. Rozanov (Lebedev Institute, Russia), H. Hora (Australia), and was signed by over 130 scientists around the world.

Along his life he received several awards and recognitions to his outstanding research, being the most important ones the Archie Harms Award for this research on emerging energy systems in 1998 and the Edward Teller Award in 1997. In 2011, the Spanish Armed Forces granted him the Marqués de Santa Cruz de Marcenado Award for his outstanding scientific work in the Armed Forces.

Friends and colleagues may send condolences and memories via Prof.Manuel Perlado: josemanuel.perlado@upm.es