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Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm
Dr. Steven Cowley (Distinguished)
Director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)
Decarbonizing energy supply and Fusion Energy
ABSTRACT: Fusion is the only energy source that is both sustainable over millennia and non-intermittent. However the technology has not yet been developed and it is not yet clear when it will be available. I will discuss the technology and the scientific advances that have brought us close to net energy production. I will also discuss the challenges to commercial realization.
BIO: Director of PPPL since July 2018, the seventh director to head the laboratory since its origin in 1951. Cowley most recently served as president of Corpus Christi College and professor of physics at the University of Oxford. From 2008 through 2016, he was chief executive officer of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and director of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.
Culham includes the Joint European Torus (JET) and Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) fusion facilities. During Cowley’s tenure, he provided the vision and strategy and led the fusion research program for the U.K. Under his leadership Culham completed an upgrade of JET, launched an upgrade of MAST and built new facilities for remote handling and nuclear materials research. In parallel, he expanded and strengthened relations with other fusion programs in Europe and around the world, and served in key advisory roles for the U.K., U.S. and European governments. He has been a member of the U.K. Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. Professor Cowley has been honored with fellowships of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, and was Knighted by the Queen in 2018.
Cowley earned his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton in 1985, was a staff scientist at PPPL from 1987 to 1993, and also taught at the University. In his new role, Cowley is appointed professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, and manages all aspects of the Laboratory, including its performance in science, engineering, operations, project management and strategic planning, and provides leadership to the U.S. and world fusion energy efforts.