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Fellows Directory

Bryan Taylor

Bryan Taylor

Professor Bryan Taylor FRS


Elected: 1970


Bryan ‘J. B.’ Taylor published important work on many aspects of plasma physics — especially in connection with plasma confinement by magnetic fields — to become one of the United Kingdom’s leading plasma theorists. This work included basic theories of plasma stability in ‘magnetic wells’ and toroidal magnetic fields, as well as the theory of the ‘relaxation’ of turbulent plasmas to the so-called ‘Taylor state’. He also initiated studies of chaos in in toroidal magnetic fields, where he introduced the ‘standard’ (or Chirikov–Taylor) map.

His early work included operational research in the Royal Air Force and research into nuclear weapons at AWRE — where he contributed to the principles of hydrogen bomb design and developed theories of pre-detonation in fission weapons and of the electromagnetic pulse from nuclear explosions.

Through other research, Bryan proved a key theorem in the theory of geomagnetic dynamos (the ‘Taylor constraint’), investigated the nature and use of adiabatic invariants in plasma theory, and explored the statistical mechanics of two-dimensional plasmas and fluids.

Professional positions

Chief Physicist, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics
    • Mathematical and theoretical physics


Plasma physics, Statistical mechanics, Fluid mechanics

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