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Highlight Seminar: Steven Cowley, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University

Highlight Seminar: Steven Cowley, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University

Date: November 9, 2016

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Location: Maeder Hall

Steven Cowley, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, will speak on the topic of “Driving Down the Cost and Scale of Fusion Energy” as part of the 2016-2017 Highlight Seminar Series at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.

The ITER fusion experiment in France is the flagship of the world’s fusion programme. I will describe ITER’s aim to produce the first controlled fusion burn and the prospects of achieving this goal. While ITER remains an important step, commercial fusion power requires innovation in both physics and technology. I will discuss prospects to reduce the cost and scale of fusion devices and the advantages of more compact configurations.

On October 1, 2016, Steven Cowley became the 31st president of Corpus Christi College, the first scientist to hold the post. He has a lifelong interest in realizing fusion power – perhaps the ultimate energy source. 

His other research interests include: the origin of magnetic fields in the universe, and explosive events in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas.

After reading physics at Corpus from 1978 to 1981, he won a Harkness Fellowship for study in the U.S. From 1981 to 1985, he was a graduate student in Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, where he studied the theory of fusion plasmas. He was awarded a Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Fellowship from Princeton in 1984. Returning to the UK in 1985, he worked at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Culham laboratory and taught at Corpus. He taught physics from 1987 to 1993 at Princeton, from 1993 to 2008 at UCLA, and from 2001 to 2016 at Imperial College. In 2008, he became the director of UKAEA’s Culham laboratory and from 2009 to 2016 the Chief Executive of UKAEA. He is an author of over 170 refereed articles. The Institute of Physics awarded him the Glazebrook Medal in 2012, and in 2014 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Since 2011, he has been a member of the Prime Minister’s Council of Science and Technology.