2012 Glazebrook Medal

Professor Steven Cowley, UK Atomic Energy Authority / Imperial College.

For his leadership of the United Kingdom’s magnetic fusion programme and of Culham Laboratory and for his seminal contributions to plasma and fusion science.

Since his appointment as Director at Culham in 2008, Steve Cowley has led the world’s foremost fusion research programme with vigour, vision and skill. 

He leads from the front, projecting a passionate commitment to scientific excellence and the goal of fusion energy. 

Researchers at every level, from students to managers, experience his intense interest in technical progress and willingness to grapple with the details of the programme. 

Culham’s superb team operates JET, the European fusion experiment, the only machine world-wide capable of initiating significant fusion reaction. Under Cowley’s leadership, Culham has overhauled its innovative compact fusion device, MAST, taking it to the threshold of fusion conditions and exploring novel exhaust solutions.

Cowley is recognised worldwide as a leading plasma theorist. He has made seminal contributions to understanding explosive instability and plasma turbulence in both fusion and astrophysical plasmas. 

In the past two decades he, and the sizeable cadre of young scientists he has nurtured, have been central to the effort to develop true predictive capability in fusion plasmas.

He has committed his considerable skills as a communicator to advocate for science, for fusion research and for energy research. 

Cowley has also served in many influential advisory capacities worldwide, most recently on the Consultative Committee for EURATOM that advises the European Commission on fusion. 

He also co-chaired in 2007 the US National Academy's decadal assessment of, and outlook for, plasma science: Plasma Science: Advancing Knowledge in the National Interest

In all these ways Steve has played a major and decisive role in shaping the future of UK, European and international fusion research.