“It’s extremely gratifying to see the students come through here and leave with their PHD’s, knowing that I’ve helped them some along the way.” - Rick Leccacorvi

Paul Rivenberg

Rick Leccacorvi receives 2018 Infinite Mile Award

PSFC mechanical designer is lauded for “infinite marathon spirit.”

Paul Rivenberg  |  PSFC

Mechanical design and fabrication specialist Rick Leccacorvi was honored with a 2018 Infinite Mile Award at a ceremony held on May 23.


His work designing experimental apparatus for physicists and students at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) has received continued enthusiastic appreciation from his peers. Although he has recently focused on a collaboration with the DIII-D tokamak in San Diego, most of Leccacorvi’s career has been spent supporting the Center’s own fusion experiment, the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, which ended operations in September 2016.


A testimonial read at the ceremony reveals how well respected Leccacorvi is.


“Rick Leccacorvi is an amazingly talented mechanical designer who has been an essential member of the Alcator C-Mod team for 14 years, and more recently an essential contributor to a diverse set of projects at the PSFC. Nominators went beyond the concept of an infinite mile spirit to showcase Rick’s infinite marathon spirit. They described numerous complex challenges for which Rick developed innovative hardware designs, often on extremely demanding timelines. In more than one case, his elegant solution was the first of its kind in the world, and it has stood the test of time.


“Rick’s work has been instrumental in all the C-Mod machine upgrade projects, adding greatly to PSFC’s success as a world-leading tokamak facility. A supervisor described Rick working beautifully with engineers, scientists, and technicians as he completed detailed designs and helped with fabrication and installation.


“Regarding a recent endeavor in the area of fusion energy research, a colleague wrote: ‘As a result of his work, we are now able to obtain experimental data supporting two graduate student PhD theses and the work of one postdoc, and have an operational system that is the centerpiece of a key collaboration. His professionalism and skill are matched only by his energy and enthusiasm, making Rick a pleasure to work with and making him someone who strengthens the morale of the entire lab. Rick Leccacorvi truly represents the ideals of the Institute – excellence in education, research, and service – and his contributions enable us to fulfill the MIT mission.’”


Leccacorvi says that he is flattered and touched by the honor.


“I began thinking about the work I’ve done and the people I’ve worked with over the years.  It’s extremely gratifying to see the students come through here and leave with their PHD’s, knowing that I’ve helped them some along the way.”


The Infinite Mile Awards Program for the Offices of the Provost, Chancellor, and Vice President for Research is designed to recognize those individuals or teams who have made extraordinary contributions within their own organizations to help the Institute carry out its mission.


Topics: Alcator C-Mod tokamak, Tokamak & stellarator collaborations


Infinite Mile Awards (MIT.edu)