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In Memoriam: Prof. RNDr. Jan Mlynář, Ph.D. (1966-2023)

EUROfusion deeply mourns the loss of Prof. RNDr. Jan Mlynář, Ph.D., a distinguished member of the fusion research community and the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Prof. Mlynář's legacy as a visionary scientist, dedicated educator, and esteemed colleague will be remembered and cherished by all who had the privilege of working with him.
Photo of Jan Mlynář courtesy of Elixír do škol, z. ú.

Read the original tribute on the the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences website.

With deep sorrow, the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences announces the passing of Prof. RNDr. Jan Mlynář, Ph.D., a long-time colleague and esteemed member of the fusion research community, on Monday, December 4, 2023.

A Lifetime Dedicated to Fusion Research

Prof. Mlynář’s journey in fusion research began over 30 years ago with his diploma thesis at the CASTOR tokamak. He completed his PhD at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, focusing on tokamak research conducted within the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. His post-doctoral pursuits took him to EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland, and later to the JET tokamak in the UK.

In the Czech Republic, Prof. Mlynář split his time between fusion research at the Institute of Plasma Physics and education at the Faculty of Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, Czech Technical University. At COMPASS, he led a new research team specializing in runaway electron studies, establishing it as a recognized group in the field. He played a pivotal role in the creation of the Physics and Technology of Thermonuclear Fusion study program, contributing significantly to the field both domestically and internationally.

Prof. Mlynář’s impact extended beyond research. He was a prolific writer, educating the public about fusion research through books, articles, and presentations. His latest book, “The Hottest Dream Under the Sun,” was published just last month.

Remembering Jan Mlynář

Jan Mlynář will be remembered as a friendly colleague, an enthusiastic teacher, and a visionary scientist.

Messages and memories can be shared with his family and colleagues here. These will be included in an electronic condolence book.

December 8, 2023

Martin Hron, Head of Division
Fusion Plasma Division
Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences


Tributes from the Fusion Community

Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manager (CEO):

“It is with deep sadness that I learned about the fact that Jan has passed away. Jan has been always such a kind and friendly person, with a strong drive to educate the young generation in the field of fusion physics. It is just a little more than two years ago when he approached me to write a support letter for him to become Professor at the Czech Technical University. He was so full of plans and ideas and wanted still to achieve so much. I was very happy when he informed me that he was appointed as Professor. I am deeply sorry that it was only for such a short time. Jan will stay in my memory as a very warm person and a great colleague. I wish his wife, family, friends and colleagues much strength to cope with this loss.”

Ambrogio Fasoli:

“I am shocked and extremely saddened by this news. Jan was a passionate fusion scientist and an excellent communicator. He had spent quite some time at Lausanne, where he had been highly appreciated, as he was throughout his career. I fondly remember a guided tour of Prague he gave me, showcasing his deep cultural knowledge.”

Duarte Borba:

“It was with great sadness that I received the news of the passing of Jan Mlynar. I had the privilege to work closely with Jan during the early years of EFDA at JET. He was the most wonderful person to work with and I learned a lot from him. He always had an unparallel passion for what he was doing, he was a great physicist and communicator. I admired his talent in connecting with people and I will always remember vividly our meeting with John D. Lawson “Lawson criterion” in Abingdon back in 2007. The “Focus On: JET” is just one of many examples of Jan’s contributions to communication in Fusion, an introductory fusion book that I still use today. I would like to express my sincere condolences. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Jérôme Paméla:

“It is very sad to hear about Jan’s disappearance. He joined the team at JET in the early days of EFDA and brought us not only his competences, but also key human qualities, which were very precious to help keep our teams together. I remember his kind smile with emotion and friendship.”

Francesco Romanelli:

“I had the pleasure to interact with Jan when he was at the JET Close Support Unit. His enthusiasm and excellent communication skills were evident in his fusion research. He was an enthusiastic researcher in fusion and an excellent communicator. He always demonstrated a strong motivation in all his activities and the ability to put his experience at the service of the scientific community. His role in increasing the prominence of fusion research in the Czech Republic will be remembered.”


“Focus On: JET” by Jan Mlynář

Access the PDF of Jan’s book “Focus on: JET

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This story was originally published by our consortium member IPP.CR (Czech Republic).

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