A West Virginia University physics professor has been elected a fellow of an organization that represents more than 40,000 physicists across the United States.

Mark Koepke will be formally recognized for his plasma physics research Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the American Physical Society =s meeting in Savannah, Ga. This honor by ones peers is extended to no more than one half of 1 percent of the APS membership each year.

Dr. Koepke joins Bernard R. Cooper, WVU professor emeritus of physics, and Mohindar Seehra, Eberly Family Professor of Physics, as West Virginia =s first three APS fellows. Drs.Cooper and Seehra were elected in the 1980s.

Koepke, who grew up in Rockville, Md., joined the physics faculty in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1987.

He initiated the plasma effort at WVU with undergraduate and graduate courses in plasma physics and a research program emphasizing the interrelationship between plasma experiments in the laboratory and in space.

Plasma, commonly referred to as the fourth state of matter, is typified by the ionized gas of fluorescent light bulbs, neon signs, the Earth =s ionosphere, the sun and solar wind. Widely used in the production of advanced materials and semiconductor devices, plasmas are best known to the general public for their use in plasma television displays.

Over the years, the WVU Plasma Physics Program has grown and now employs more than 20 people, including faculty, visiting scientists and students.

Koepke’s research program, supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, has brought national and international attention to West Virginia through its collaboration with scientists at the University of Tromsoe in Norway, the University of Wisconsin, the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and researchers in Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Scotland and Sweden.

The APS citation acknowledges Koepkefor achievement in interrelating laboratory results and spaceâ�?��€~plasma observations.

Koepkes previous honors include being named Outstanding Researcher by the Eberly College in 1996, Benedum Distinguished Scholar by WVU in 2000 and Distinguished Lecturer in Plasma Physics by the APS Division of Plasma Physics in 2001.

The Department of Physics is extremely proud of Professor Koepke =s election,said Earl Scime, department chairman.This prestigious award recognizes the outstanding work in basic plasma physics performed by him and his students.

Founded in 1899, the American Physical Society promotes the growth of the profession and publishes the worlds most prestigious and widely read physics research journals.