Engineering News

March 14, 2005 Vol. 76, no.9S

NE professor Ed Morse received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1975 and his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois in 1979. His specialties and areas of interest are fusion reactor design and applied plasma physics, experimental investigation of RF plasma heating, fusion research, rotating target neutron source, compact toroids, and a spectral method for magnetohydrodynamic stability.

Professor Minute with NE professor Ed Morse

If you had not decided to go into engineering, what other career would you have today?
I might also have enjoyed becoming an intellectual property lawyer.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I own a 1911 Craftsman-style house which was in decrepit condition when I bought it: The foundation had slipped 40 inches out from under it. It has been a long but enjoyable process of restoring it, starting with 15 tons of steel and legions of concrete trucks. My latest project is putting in a hot tub with a homebuilt heat exchanger, nuclear-grade water chemistry, and electronic controls, of course.

To date, what has been the most memorable moment in your career and why?
I was having trouble starting a discharge in my fusion experiment BCTX. I tried putting some permanent magnets on to focus the electrons along the current path, and that made things even worse. In desperation I placed the magnets so the field would be perpendicular to the discharge, to see what the "stupid" answer was. Things got better! I had an epiphany and realized that the discharge was in Penning mode. I designed a robust plasma gun around that and realized what real scientific discovery was like.

What CD are you listening to at the moment?
"Tree Pieces" by Berkeley composer Wendy Reid. It has an oboe tonal sequence based on the Fibonacci series and a few frogs. Great music to listen to while slicing vegetables for dinner.


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