Timothy Coffey, Ph.D.
Thomas A. Edison Chair
Dr. Timothy Coffey is the Edison Chair at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962 with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, and obtained his M.S. (1963) and Ph.D. (1967), both in Physics, from the University of Michigan.
During his graduate career, Dr. Coffey worked as a research assistant at the University of California (1963-64), a research physicist at the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories (1964-65), and a teaching fellow and research assistant in physics at the University of Michigan (1965-66). As a scientific consultant for EG&G, Inc. (1966-71), he was involved in investigations in theoretical and mathematical physics.
Dr. Coffey joined to the Naval Research Laboratory in 1971 as Head of the Plasma Dynamics Branch, Plasma Physics Division. In this position, he directed research in the simulation of plasma instabilities, the development of multidimensional fluid and magnetohydrodynamic codes, and the development of computer codes for treating chemically reactive flows. In 1975, he was named Superintendent, Plasma Physics Division; he was appointed Associate Director of Research for General Science and Technology on January 1, 1980. On November 28, 1982, he was named Director of Research. Dr. Coffey retired from the Naval Research Laboratory and joined the University of Maryland as a Senior Research Scientist.
Dr. Coffey conducted research on the theory of nonlinear oscillations and played a major role in the national program on high-altitude nuclear effects. The author or co-author of over 70 publications and reports, he has made several fundamental contributions to the theory of electron beam/plasma interaction and to the understanding of plasma processes in the Earth's ionosphere.
Dr. Coffey is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the Franklin Institute, a Fellow of the Washington Academy of Science, a member of the American Institute of Physics, a member of American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of Sigma Xi. In 1981, he was awarded the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive. He was awarded the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive in 1987 and 1994. In 1991, Dr. Coffey was the recipient of the Delmer S. Fahrney Medal and received the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award. On March 14, 1996 he was awarded the Senior Executives Association Professional Development League's 1995 Executive Excellence Award for Distinguished Executive Service. In August 2000, he was awarded the Navy's prestigious Captain Robert Dexter Conrad Award. Upon his retirement from the Naval Research Laboratory he was awarded the Laboratory's Lifetime Achievement Award.