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Review of
the UNU Training Program on Plasma and Laser Technology

Report of the Review Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to review the UNU Training Program on Plasma and Laser Technology which was conducted from October 1985 to April 1986 at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

Prepared by Professor Takaya Kawabe
United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS)

Review Meeting

The UNU Training Program on Plasma and Laser Technology was conducted from October 1985 to April 1986 at the University of Malaya under the direction of Professor Sing Lee, President, AAAPT, in collaboration with Dr. Walter Shearer, Programme Officer, UNU.

A unique feature of the training program was that follow-up equipment accompanied the Fellows back to their home institutes. These consisted of nitrogen lasers and glow discharge equipment and complete sets of plasma focus facility (including diagnostics) designated as the UNU/ICTP plasma focus (fusion) facility.

Professor Abdus Salam (then Director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) had visited the program in January 1986 and had approved an ICTP grant, which partially paid for the equipment and airfreight. The equipment, totalling more than 1,000 kilograms, was dispatched at a meeting attended by Dr. Walter Shearer. At that meeting, Professor Sing Lee emphasized that the success of the program depended on the work that would be carried out back at the home institutes of the Fellows in order to achieve the multiplicative effect stressed by UNU guidelines.

Since then, many Ph.Ds and Master's Degrees have been produced, and six new laboratories have been built.

1998 marked 12 years of accomplishment, and it has been a good time for reviewing the program.

The review meeting was conducted and the contents of the review were summarized in a book entitled "Twelve years of UNU/ICTP PFF - A Review." As you will see in the manuscript, reports from Singapore, Islamabad, Delhi, Port Harcourt & Harare, Cairo, and Kuala Lumpur are included.

From my point of view, this program has been successful, and the reasons may be the following:

  • Leadership of Professor Sing Lee and his colleagues;
  • Proper selection of the theme;
  • Unique idea of the Fellows bringing back their experimental equipment to their home institutes;
  • Good financial supprot from the international and domestic sources;
  • Good networking among the trainees after their return to their home institutitons.

Outcomes from this program:

  • Basic understanding of the plasma physics, particularly experimentally;
  • Training of technical know-how for construction of the experiments, and also how to carry out the experimental investigation;

Suggestions for future activities may be as follows:

  • Follow up of the present accomplishment;
  • New direction of the themes, such as plasma applications in many areas, to which many developed countries have been making efforts.


UNU/ICTP PFF has made great accomplishments within 12 years.

For further information please contact Professor Takaya Kawabe, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS), Tokyo, Japan; E-mail:, or Institute of Physics, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan; E-mail: .
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