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Fellows Directory

Peter Lawrenson

Professor Peter Lawrenson FREng FRS


Elected: 1982


Peter Lawrenson was recognised as a leading authority in three separate areas of electrical power engineering. He demonstrated that long-held views about the nature of singly excited machines were incorrect, making radical improvements in the performance of reluctance machines and stimulating worldwide activity in their application. In the mathematical solution of electromagnetic fields, he made several important contributions which are now used by researchers and designers in connection with many types of electrical apparatus. After early identification of the great potential of stepping motors for digital control systems, he made major contributions to the establishment of fundamental theory and design capability. Additionally, his mathematical and experimental modelling of superconducting AC generators was of importance in the assessment of their future role. His more recent work demonstrated remarkable levels of performance attainable from the integration of an elemental electrical machine with solid-state power electronics, by which means a single machine can be made to give any desired operating characteristic solely by adjustments at the logic or software level.

Professor Peter Lawrenson FREng FRS died on 27 October 2017.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


  • Royal Society Esso Energy Award

    For their work on the development, to commercial marketability, of switched reluctance drives which provide for significant overall energy savings, compared with traditional a.c. squirrel-cage motors, for instance, in controlled applications.