John H. Malmberg, a plasma physics pioneer at UC San Diego, died last week at his home in Del Mar. He was 65.
Malmberg's family requested that details of his death not be disclosed, a university spokesman said.
Malmberg was a pioneer in the testing of the basic principles of plasma and was a recipient of the American Physical Society's 1991 Excellence in Plasma Physics Research Award and the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in 1985, the spokesman said. He also won the NASA Award for technical innovation.
Malmberg was director of the Plasma Turbulence group at General Atomic during the 1960s, when he conducted early testing on the principals of plasma.
Plasma is considered the fourth state of matter, different from solids, liquids and gases. Most matter in the universe, including stars, is composed of plasma. Malmberg's work focused on fusion energy that powers the sun, and how stars ignite.
Malmberg graduated from the University of Illinois, where he earned a doctorate in physics. He taught and conducted research there from 1949 to 1957.