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Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture 2023: The pathway to delivering fusion power


Oxford Museum of Natural History

Date & Time

Friday 16 Jun 2023 3pm - Friday 16 Jun 2023


Open to all

Engineering at the Extremes

Engineers have always pushed the boundaries of the possible, and this year's event will showcase Engineering at the Extremes. Our 2023 Lubbock lecturer is Sir Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority and world expert on the extreme engineering involved in making fusion power a reality, where the fusion material is as hot as the sun. Ian will discuss how engineering is creating solutions even in these most extreme environments, helping to bring us closer to the transformation fusion can bring about, providing abundant, cheap, clean power.

The Lubbock supporting lectures cover a breadth of Oxford Engineering Science:

  • Dr Chiara Falsetti will talk about challenges and opportunities related to sustainable aviation.
  • Professor Konstantina Vogiatzaki takes us to the other extreme of the temperature scale, talking about her work to understand the weird world of fluids at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero.
  • Finally, Professor Dan Eakins will present research which explores the limits of a material’s strength beyond the sound barrier.


Lubbock Lecture: The pathway to delivering fusion power

Professor Sir Ian Chapman, CEO, UK Atomic Energy Authority

Fusion offers the potential to provide continuous, safe and low-carbon power. However, there remain technical challenges to overcome to realise fusion as well as various other enabling measures which will be needed to make fusion a reality as soon as possible. This talk will begin by explaining the UK government strategy to delivering fusion and setting this in the context of other major fusion programmes internationally. It will then describe the major technical challenges required to deliver a magnetic fusion powerplant and give a brief overview of some of the key deliverables and discoveries that will be required on that pathway. An overview of recent major discoveries in the field will be presented together with a future outlook for the pathway to delivering fusion power.


Sir Ian Chapman became CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority in October 2016. He has held a number of international roles in fusion, currently including membership of the Princeton Plasma Physics Advisory board and chairing the IAEA International Fusion Research Committee. His research has been recognised with a number of international awards, including the Institute of Physics Paterson Medal in 2013, the American Physical Society Stix Award in 2017, the Royal Society Kavli Medal in 2019 and the Institute of Physics Glazebrook Medal for leadership in 2021.

He was made a Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2013, became a visiting Professor at Durham University in 2015, elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2022 and made an Honorary Fellow of the Nuclear Institute in 2023. He was knighted in the King’s New Year’s Honours in 2023.