In 2016 Steve 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 US. From 1981 to 1985 he was a graduate student in Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, studying the theory of fusion plasmas. He was awarded a Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Fellowship from Princeton University 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, from1993 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.