The following is a statement by Peta Bonham-Smith, Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Science.
In Memoriam: Akira Hirose
Our colleague, Professor Emeritus Akira Hirose of the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, passed away on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 following a stroke earlier this month.
Professor Hirose completed his BSc (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and MSc (Department of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics) at Yokohama National University in Japan. Professor Hirose’s illustrious and prolific research career in the field of plasma physics was acknowledged with a Fulbright Scholarship in 1967, which he took up at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He completed his PhD there in the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1969. He joined the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Physics as an associate professor in July 1977 following appointments as a research associate (1971–75) and research scientist (1975–77) in the Plasma Physics Laboratory. He became a tenured professor in 1979, and later served as director of the Plasma Physics Laboratory (1994–2015) and department head of Physics and Engineering Physics (1998–2001). The university awarded him an Earned Doctor of Science in 1994.
Professor Hirose’s research interests included the promotion of industrial applications of plasma technologies, including energy, materials sciences and plasma-based manufacturing methods. He established his position as a leader in plasma physics by building and operating Canada’s first Tokamak, and his research has continued to contribute to international efforts to harness fusion power. His pioneering research in this area inspired generations of plasma physicists who continue his research legacy at the University of Saskatchewan and worldwide. He was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1981), the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) in 1986, the Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada (2000) and the European Academy of Science (2002). Perhaps most notably, Professor Hirose was appointed as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Plasma Science at the University of Saskatchewan in 2001, which was renewed for a second term in 2008. He received both the University of Saskatchewan’s Distinguished Researcher Award (Fall Convocation) and Distinguished Foreign Scientist by the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute in 1995, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2006) and the American Physical Society Outstanding Referee Award (2009). His international acclaim was further evidenced through his election as a member of the C-16 Committee (Plasma Physics), UNESCO International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2009–2012).
Professor Hirose repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics through his participation on a range of departmental and college level committees over the span of his academic career. Recent highlights include multiple terms on the College Review Committee and a four-year term on the College of Graduate Studies and Research Earned DSc Committee. His lifetime engagement in the IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science was highlighted through his membership on multiple program organizing committees, his participation as a sessional organizer on numerous occasions and his position as chairman of the Program and Local Committees when the conference was hosted in Saskatoon in 1986. His expertise was sought out nationally and internationally through editorial appointments, including membership on the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Physics, and as associate editor of Physical Review Letters, Canadian Journal of Physics, Physics Essays and IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science.
Professor Akira Hirose will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues at the College of Arts and Science and beyond.