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Fellows Directory

David Stevenson

Professor David Stevenson FRS


Elected: 1993


David John Stevenson uses physics to understand the structure and evolution of planets. Having modelled all planets and satellites, his research now focuses on the origin of the Moon, formation of the Earth’s core and interpreting data from NASA’s missions to Jupiter and Saturn.

David took a class from American scientist and author Carl Sagan at Cornell University and has a passion for illustrating the links between science fiction and real world science. In 1984, he received the Harold C. Urey Prize awarded by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. In 1998, he received the Hess Medal from the American Geophysical Union and in 2004 he became Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.

In 2003, the journal Nature published a paper written by David that combined proven technologies and well-informed scientific assumptions to propose a method of sending a probe to the Earth’s core. The tongue-in-cheek paper gained worldwide media attention and children’s author, Eoin Colfin, used the idea in his book Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (2005).

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Geophysics, High pressure, Magnetic fields, Planets