Dr Melanie Windridge is a specialist in fusion energy who helps people see the value, opportunities and excitement of fusion. She is a plasma physicist, speaker and writer… with a taste for adventure.
Melanie has a PhD in plasma physics (fusion energy) from Imperial College London where she remains an Academic Visitor. She is the founder and CEO of Fusion Energy Insights, a company that keeps people up to date with developments in the growing fusion industry. She was previously UK Director of the Fusion Industry Association and has worked as a consultant for the privately-funded fusion company Tokamak Energy since 2013. She sits on the Advisory Boards of the UK Fusion Cluster and US non-profit Energy for the Common Good, and was elected a Fellow of the Clean Growth Leadership Network. Melanie is the author of Star Chambers: the race for fusion power and has also worked in education with the Ogden Trust, the Institute of Physics and the UK government campaign ‘Your Life.’
Melanie’s personal projects combine science with adventure. Her book Aurora: In Search of The Northern Lights (William Collins, 2016) investigates the science of the aurora against a backdrop of travel to illuminate its places, landscapes and stories. In 2018 Melanie climbed Mount Everest, filming and writing about her experience to tell the story of the science that gets us to the summit. She also produced a YouTube series for the Institute of Physics. Melanie is a previous Vice President of the prestigious Alpine Club.
A regular public speaker, Melanie has addressed audiences at wide-ranging events, from science and literature festivals to climate conferences and global summits. She is a frequent moderator and contributor to high level panel discussions on fusion and energy, and gives introductory talks on fusion to investors and business leaders.
Melanie has made countless television, radio and podcast appearances, both UK and abroad, including programmes for the BBC and National Geographic Channel. She has written articles for The Sunday Times Magazine, Forbes, Physics World and more.
Melanie is interested in the notion of ‘impossibles’ – grand challenges once seen as impossible, but made attainable through investigation, ingenuity and grit. Such ‘impossibles’ include the race to the poles, space and the journey to fusion energy. Melanie believes that science and exploration go hand in hand.
Learn more about Melanie's latest adventures
Curated insights into the growing fusion industry for busy professionals
Institute of Physics
The beautiful aurorae – or Northern Lights – are the stuff of legends, and have long captivated people. The Sami say that if you mock the Northern Lights they will come down and get you, and, metaphorically speaking, they do just that. They reach into something deep inside the beholder. But beneath their beauty lurks a darker side. The solar events that give them their luminosity can knock out power and communications, and as we rely increasingly on technology the prospect of a huge solar storm becomes more and more dangerous. This book grapples with both the beauty and the danger of the aurora, and explores the essential questions of its origins. Do we really even know what causes the aurora? Melanie Windridge, plasma physicist, suggests that common explanations fall short – and offers her own insight.
In a journey that takes her through Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Canada, and culminates in a spectacular solar eclipse, Melanie delves into the science of the Northern Lights, introducing the reader to the phenomena behind this most spectacular of natural events. Touching on the history, geography and mythology that comprise the aurora borealis, Aurora brings together space, place and science in magnificent style.
‘It is clear in this captivating book that her technical understanding has not dimmed her delight.’
‘The result is a brilliant blend of auroral science, polar exploration, Sami heritage and folklore. Melanie Windridge’s book is full of wonders.’
— Simple Things magazine
‘Her enthusiasm for all things aurora is, ultimately, infectious and there will be something of interest here for anyone with even a passing curiosity in this remarkable natural phenomenon’
— Times Literary Supplement