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Melanie Windridge

Melanie Windridge

speaker location icon London, UK

Plasma physicist, explorer and author

Expert on fusion energy

Author, Aurora: In Search of The Northern Lights (2016)

Dr Melanie Windridge is a plasma physicist, speaker, writer… with a taste for adventure.  She has a PhD in plasma physics (fusion energy) from Imperial College London and is currently Communications Consultant for fusion start-up Tokamak Energy. She also works in education with the Ogden Trust, Anturus and Your Life and is an academic visitor at Imperial College London.

Melanie’s personal projects combine science with adventure and her latest book, Aurora: In Search of The Northern Lights (William Collins, 2016), investigates the science of the aurora against a backdrop of travel that also illuminates the places, the landscapes and the stories of the northern lights.

A gifted story-teller with an infectious passion for her subject, Melanie inspires audiences with her unique perspective on science, geography and travel, firmly believing that science and exploration go hand in hand. On a more technical level, she is also able to deliver insights into the state of the fusion industry, and the role that startups are playing in the energy sector.

Melanie was the Institute of Physics’ Schools lecturer for 2010, spending the year visiting schools to talk about fusion energy. She wrote a book based on this lecture tour – Star Chambers: The Race to Fusion Power, published by White Label Books – which gives a basic introduction to fusion energy for the general reader.

She has made several television appearances, including various programmes for the National Geographic Channel and the BBC, and has been interviewed for radio numerous times (both UK and abroad). She has had articles published by The Times, The Guardian, WIRED magazine and more.

Melanie’s research in fusion was prompted by a strong interest in energy and the environment, engendered at school and furthered by travel – the same interest which sparked her desire to visit the Arctic. In 2005 her mother set up the family-run charity Edirisa UK (of which she is a trustee), promoting education and sustainable development in Uganda.

Our Comment

"Melanie argues that all forms of exploration, whether it be through travel or scientific enquiry, at their core boil down to the same thing: the innate human impetus to push back frontiers. Her speeches and writing are designed to explore and cultivate this instinct to innovate, and her stories provide invaluable inspiration to help audiences and businesses develop an exploratory mindset."

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights by Dr Melanie Windridge

Aurora is a narrative of discovery exploring the visual beauty, legends and science of the northern lights – including the developing threat of space weather – and challenging the popular paradigm of how the lights are formed. Well-known plasma physicist Dr Melanie Windridge offers new insights into this extraordinary and evocative phenomenon, a scientific marvel unlike any other in which the powers of astronomy, geology, magnetism and atomic physics combine to create one of the wonders of the natural world.

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