After a PhD in Radio Astronomy in Cambridge, Tony Bell worked on radar signal processing with Marconi before moving to the Central Laser Facility as a laser-plasma theorist. In 1985 he was appointed to a lectureship in the Plasma Group at Imperial College. In 2007, following two years with the Methodist Church, he moved to a joint appointment between the Clarendon Laboratory and the Central Laser Facility.
His research encompasses laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. He wrote one of four independent papers proposing the theory of cosmic ray acceleration by shocks. He showed how strong magnetic field is generated during particle acceleration and how it enables cosmic ray acceleration to high energy. He initiated the theory of non-local transport for heat flow in Inertial Confinement Fusion, explained the collimation of laser-produced energetic electrons by resistively generated magnetic field, and with John Kirk demonstrated the possibility of electron-positron pair production in ultra-high intensity laser-plasma interactions.
He has been awarded the Hoyle Prize of the Institute of Physics and the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Professor of Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford
Interest and expertise
Astronomy and physics
cosmic rays, high energy astrophysics, laser-produced plasmas, Astrophysical plasmas