European Academy of Sciences

Death of Professor Guillermo Velarde

We recently received the very sad news that Prof. Guillermo Velarde passed away on January 12, 2018.

Guillermo Velarde was Professor Chair of Nuclear Physics since 1973 at the Industrial Engineering College of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and General of Division of the Spanish Air Force.

In 2007 he was appointed Member of the European Academy of Sciences.

Professor Velarde started as early as 1958 at the Spanish Atomic Energy Commission. Very early in the 70’s he pushed forward  research in Inertial Confinement Fusion Physics (ICF) with an small and outstanding group developing several integrated/coupled codes for Radiation-Hydrodynamic and Particle Transport Physics (NORMA, CLARA and NORCLA) to study the implosion and burning of fusion-fission and pure fusion targets. The results of these codes were published in different papers from 1976 onwards and they had a large international impact among the fusion scientific community, attracting the interest of laboratories such as Kernforchungszentrun Karlsruhe (Germany), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA), Institute of Laser Engineering Osaka University (Japan), Lebedev Institute Moscow (Russian Federation) and Commissariat d’Energie Atomique (France).

The history of those early activities of Inertial Confinement Fusion Research was published with original articles and contributions from the pioneers in the book Inertial Confinement Fusion: A Historical Approach by its Pioneers that he edited in 2007. This book is considered as recommended reading by the Euro EUROfusion Consortium of the European Commission.

In 1981 Guillermo Velarde founded the Instituto de Fusión Nuclear (IFN) within the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. From its beginnings the IFN started a high international level of scientific relationships in the different research fields associated to obtain energy from Inertial Confinement Fusion. This effort played a key fundamental role in the promotion and maintenance of research in the Fusion for Inertial Confinement in EURATOM, through its decision-making committees such as the Consultative Committee Euratom-Fusion and in the Keep in Touch ICF Programs throughout the Framework Programs V, VI, VII. Guillermo Velarde was president of the Keep in Touch from 1998 to 2006. These programs are currently continuing in EUROFusion with the Towards Inertial Fusion Energy Project. 

Professor Velarde also reinforced the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the area of Laser Fusion Energy. He, together with other outstanding scientists, wrote the IAEA book Energy from Inertial Fusion and boosted several successive and successful IAEA Coordinated Research Projects in Inertial Fusion.

In 1988, Guillermo Velarde (IFN) and Eric Storm (LLNL) suggested the signature of the Madrid Manifesto during the ECLIM Conference that was held in Madrid. The Madrid Manifesto proposed an open international collaboration in ICF. The Manifesto received immediate and enthusiastic support of significant ICF leaders and was signed by over 130 scientists around the world.

He authored 8 books, among others “Quantum Mechanics” (McGraw Hill, 2002); co-edited 6, and published 325 papers.

Along his life he received several awards and recognitions to his outstanding research, being the most important ones the Edward Teller Award in 1997 for his pioneering research and leadership in the use of laser and ion-particle beams to produce unique high-temperature and high-density matter for scientific research; the Archie Harms Award for this research on emerging energy systems in 1998. In 2011, the Spanish Armed Forces granted him the Marqués de Santa Cruz de Marcenado Award for his outstanding scientific work in the Armed Forces.

Professor Velarde will be always among us, his colleagues and disciples.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.


Natividad Carpintero-Santamaría

Professor, Member of the Presidium of the European Academy of Sciences