Today at Berkeley Lab

In Memoriam: Former Fusion Group Lead Wulf Kunkel (1923-2013)

Wulf Kunkel, a physicist who joined Berkeley Lab in 1956 and retired in 1991, passed away on Sept. 3. Kunkel served as the lead of the Fusion Research Group at the Lab from 1971 to 1991. After his retirement, he continued as an affiliate of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division. He was also a professor at UC Berkeley, where he received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Kunkel’s research focused on astrophysics, basic aspects of plasma physics, controlled nuclear fusion power, developing novel powerful deuterium injectors for heating, ionization phenomena in gases, physics, plasma in the large magnetic confinement fusion experiments, and space sciences.


  1. I think Wulf was a very special person to all who had the privilege of working with him. I unfortunately did not as I joined LBL in 1990 but I did have lots of contact with AFRD colleagues who had the highest regard for him. As Ian Brown wrote, he was a great mentor. The Lab today could use a lot more like him and a lot less [ ] (my former colleagues can mentally fill in the blank).

  2. Wulf was the example of the way to be … Patient, positive, listening, caring, tolerant … A quiet leader. I knew him in the hay day of fusion and neutral beams. Thinking of him has always brought a smile. I am sorry to hear of his passing and offer my condolences to all. My very best, Walt
    Ps is there a service I might attend?