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Frank Plasil (1999)


Physics Division

For fundamental research establishing fission-imposed limits on rotating nuclei, and for extensive studies of heavy ion reactions from low to ultrarelativistic energies.

Frank Plasil received a B.S. with honors from Queen Mary College of the University of London in 1960. He earned a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964. Plasil first served as a research assistant at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California and then as a research associate at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

Dr. Plasil joined ORNL in 1967 and currently works as a senior research staff member in ORNL's Physics Division. He has also served as a visiting senior research staff member to the Institut de Physique Nucleaire in Orsay, France.

Since 1983, Plasil has led ORNL into the investigation of nucleus-nucleus collisions at "ultrarelativistic" energies at CERN, the European organization for nuclear research, in Switzerland. After a decade of experiments, ORNL has moved into a leading position in the PHENIX collider experiment, which is one of the two large experiments currently operating at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. About 450 physicists from more than 20 countries are participating in this experiment. More recently, Plasil has been working on a proposal for a neutrino facility, ORLaND, to be constructed at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at ORNL.

Another significant research accomplishment is Plasil's quantitative studies in heavy-ion-induced fission. These studies demonstrate that a correct quantitative description can only be obtained when finite-range effects are included in the rotating-liquid-drop-model description of heavy-ion-induced reactions. Other research activities have included studies of nonequilibrium effects (charged particle and neutron emission) and of coherence effects (pion emission) in heavy-ion-induced reactions at energies of up to 25 MeV/nucleon. He conducted studies of heavy-ion- induced reactions at ultrarelativistic energies from 60 to 200 GeV/nucleon. His early work included studies of charged-particle- and heavy-ion-induced fission and studies of heavy-ion-induced reactions at energies of up to 10 MeV/nucleon with emphasis on fusion, fission and deep inelastic reactions.

Plasil has co-authored more than 250 professional articles in journals and books. Of particular note is a paper on the theory of rotating nuclei in the rotating liquid drop model. This paper defines the limits of stability of rotating nuclei formed in reactions with heavy ions. Considered a "classic" paper in this field, it has been referenced more than 1000 times.

In 1984, he received the Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Award in Germany. He also earned the 1998 E. Mach Honorary Medal for Merit in Physical Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Plasil is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

He was named a corporate fellow in 1999.

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