Dr Arthur Turrell holds a PhD in plasma physics from Imperial College London, for which he won the Atomic Weapons Establishment thesis prize. From 2013 to 2015 he worked as a Doctoral Prize Fellow in the plasma physics group at Imperial alongside renowned starbuilders such as Professor Steve Cowley, former head of EURATOM and former CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
His PhD supervisor, Professor Steve Rose, is the former Director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College and has been an instrumental figure in the science behind nuclear fusion.
While working at Imperial, Arthur published many academic papers on the science of nuclear fusion, including in top journals such as Nature Communications. His research has been featured in the Daily Mail, Xinhua, Science World Report, Optics.org, International Business Times, Gizmodo, and the Tech Times.
Alongside academic research, Arthur has been a passionate ambassador for science.
He has interviewed Sir Patrick Moore, Sir Roger Penrose, Marcus du Sautoy, and Lewis Wolpert – as well as being interviewed himself by the BBC’s Gareth Mitchell. He has given public lectures on star building at the British Science Festival, Institute of Physics Plasma Conference, the UK’s Science Museum, a few pubs and even a nightclub! He was the lead scientist of an exhibit named ‘Set the controls for the heart of the sun’ at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.
In 2015, he gave a science talk on the BBC’s Breakfast programme due to his involvement in the Pint of Science festival. In recognition of his outreach work, he has been awarded the Rutherford Prize for the Public Understanding of Plasma Physics.
Arthur previously worked at the Bank of England where he applied his scientific training to questions about the macro-economy, most recently being featured alongside several Nobel prize-winners in articles on how to ‘rebuild macroeconomics’. He has helped with speeches for the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and has written about his experience of moving from physics to economics in the Guardian. As a visiting scientist, he retains close links with the plasma physics group at Imperial College London.
Since 2021, Arthur has worked at the Office for National Statistics, as the Deputy Director of the Data Science Campus.
‘What problem do you hope scientists will have solved by the end of the century?’
‘Nuclear fusion. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy without pollution or global warming’
—Professor Stephen Hawking
Is it possible to build a star on earth? This is the question at the heart of The Star Builders: Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet by the plasma physicist Arthur Turrell. Filled with the remarkable stories of scientists who have dedicated their lives to a seemingly impossible dream, the book describes mind-boggling experiments in nuclear fusion that are recreating stellar conditions here on earth right now.
The Star Builders takes the reader on a fascinating journey of discovery through cutting-edge new techniques in nuclear energy – innovations that would allow us to recreate the power of the stars, unleashing a source of energy that could provide power for millions, or even billions, of years. It also delves into the torrid history of nuclear innovation, from splitting the atom to the rise of deadly weapons, and explores exactly what it means to go nuclear.
The Star Builders was published in August 2021 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK and Simon & Schuster in the US to critical acclaim.
‘A gobsmackingly good read … I learned a lot by reading this book. You will, too’ – Robert Bryce, author of A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
‘Incredibly readable and entertaining. The book’s first-hand accounts of what is occurring inside fusion start-ups are especially enthralling’ – Jason Parisi, co-author of The Future of Fusion Energy
‘A compelling case for why, in the quest for fusion, we cannot afford not to try’ – Daniel Clery, author of A Piece of the Sun: The Quest for Fusion Energy
‘Turrell’s enthusiasm brings decades of careful scientific research to life, even as the scientists whose work he traces bring fusion to the cusp of fruition’ – Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future
‘Painstakingly researched. Turrell gives us a front-row seat to the hard-fought race for fusion’ – James Mahaffey, author of Atomic Adventures