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Eminent laser scientist joins Royal Society Fellowship

05 May 2017


Professor Tony Bell

Distinguished scientist Professor Tony Bell and member of STFC’s Central Laser Facility has today been elected as Fellow of the Royal Society for his outstanding contributions to science.

Professor Bell said: “This recognition by fellow scientists gives me a warm sense of satisfaction. It’s more than I expected when I started out 40 years ago.”

After a PhD in Radio Astronomy in Cambridge, Professor Bell worked on radar signal processing before moving to STFC’s Central Laser Facility as a laser-plasma theorist. In 1985 he was appointed to a lectureship in the Plasma Group at Imperial College. In 2007 he moved to a joint appointment between the Clarendon Laboratory and the Central Laser Facility.

His research encompasses laboratory and astrophysical plasmas, and he wrote one of four independent papers proposing the theory of cosmic ray acceleration by shocks.

Professor Bell showed how strong magnetic field is generated during particle acceleration and how it enables cosmic ray acceleration to high energy. He initiated the theory of non-local transport for heat flow in Inertial Confinement Fusion, explained the collimation of laser-produced energetic electrons by resistively generated magnetic field, and demonstrated the possibility of electron-positron pair production in ultra-high intensity laser-plasma interactions.

Previous awards he has received include the Hoyle Prize of the Institute of Physics and the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Speaking of all of this year’s fellows, Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said: “Science is a great triumph of human achievement and has contributed hugely to the prosperity and health of our world. The new Fellows of the Royal Society have already contributed much to science and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them into our ranks.”

The Fellowship of the Royal Society is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from or living and working in the UK and the Commonwealth.

Visit the Royal Society website to find out more.

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