Russell Cowburn is a physicist who has made critical contributions in the field of nanotechnology — the manipulation of matter on a tiny scale. His work has important applications, such as its use in an anti-counterfeiting technology. He has been described as ‘half scientist–half technologist’, having had over 60 patents granted.
Russell is a master at translating discoveries into technologies. One of his key achievements is designing a sensitive laser instrument with the ability to measure magnetism. Another is the invention of an anti-counterfeiting technology known as Laser Surface Authentication that analyses materials such as paper, plastics and ceramics and uses the natural randomness of their surface to generate a fingerprint.
Russell is currently Professor of Experimental Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, the University of Cambridge. He is also a frequent invited speaker at international conferences. Furthermore, he has won numerous awards, including a European Union ERC Advanced Investigator Grant of €2.8 million in 2009.