Artwork © Yasin Isik
Melanie is very interested in science and exploration and how they drive each other. So she likes to mix up her science and her adventures.
She loves the outdoors, especially the mountains, so in the winter she always tries to make time to ski and in the summer to walk and climb. As well as the UK and Europe, she has trekked in Nepal and Peru, and climbed in the Himalayas, South America and Africa. In 2018 she summitted Mount Everest. Melanie also enjoys scuba diving and sailing, though does have a tendency to get seasick!
On a more regular basis at home she enjoys running, yoga and countryside walks. She plays the guitar, loves dancing and never seems to find enough time to read everything she wants. She speaks fairly fluent French, basic Spanish and a bit of Norwegian. Life changed a bit when she had a daughter in 2022.
Melanie is a plasma physicist specialising in fusion energy – a clean, green, safe energy for the future. She did her PhD with Imperial College London, spending the majority of her time at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Oxfordshire, the location of the largest fusion experiment in the world, JET.
Melanie is the founder and CEO of Fusion Energy Insights, which keeps people up to date with developments in the growing fusion industry. She sits on the Advisory Boards of the UK Fusion Cluster and US non-profit Energy for the Common Good. In 2022 she was elected a Fellow of the Clean Growth Leadership Network.
From 2013 to 2022, Melanie worked as Communications Consultant for Tokamak Energy, a private company aiming to accelerate the development of fusion energy by exploiting new technologies. Tokamak Energy is combining novel High Temperature Superconducting magnets with the more efficient Spherical Tokamak design to make more compact fusion machines. Smaller, cheaper machines will lead to commercial fusion faster, which is a really exciting possibility. Have a look at the Tokamak Energy website.
Melanie also worked as UK Director of the Fusion Industry Association for 3 years from 2018-2021, also with responsibility for Communications. She started the fortnightly Fusion News updates on the FIA YouTube channel and podcasts, working with fusion PhD students to update viewers on latest developments.
Melanie is the author of Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights and Star Chambers: the race for fusion power, as well as writing for Forbes online.
Melanie is an accomplished, inspirational speaker who has delivered countless lectures at festivals, events and schools. She mostly speaks about the aurora, fusion energy, Everest and combining science with adventure. The theme across all of these things is the notion of “impossibles” – pushing the boundaries and doing things that have never been done before.
As an expert and author on the northern lights, Melanie also joins trips to see the aurora and eclipses, where she is on hand to talk to travellers about these two spectacular phenomena and our connection to the Sun.
Melanie is represented by Northbank Talent Management.
See Speaking to find out about Melanie’s talks.
Melanie has worked extensively in education, alongside her fusion work and writing, with organisations such as the Institute of Physics, The Ogden Trust, the Your Life campaign and Anturus. She has also developed training for academic researchers in public engagement with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.
At Anturus, Melanie initiated the Mountain Science project, was part of Expedition Alpine and Expedition Iceland.
During 2010 Melanie was the lecturer for the Institute of Physics’ annual Schools and Colleges lecture series. Throughout the year she visited over 35 schools and delivered a talk to GCSE/A-level students on the physics of fusion and, more specifically, how the science learnt in school is used in the development of a new energy source. During that year she wrote a series of blogs for the Institute of Physics about fusion and her travels around the country. The blogs were combined into the book Star Chambers: the race for fusion power published in 2012. Since then, Melanie has delivered countless lectures at schools, festivals and events, and continues to do so.
WOMEN IN FUSION
Women in Fusion is an initiative started by Melanie that helps women in the fusion industry share their voices and experiences working in a competitive field primarily occupied by men. With the rapid growth of the industry, it is important to ensure that inclusion and diversity is at the heart of the field to facilitate the most productive environment. The Women in Fusion Instagram account strives to showcase the female faces behind the most ambitious project on the journey to clean and sustainable energy – fusion power.
You can find these details and the most recent Instagram posts on my Women in Fusion page.
- What in fusion do you work on?
- Why did you get into fusion?
- Any advice for others looking to get into fusion?
- Share something about yourself and what you do outside of work.
Please also include a few photos of yourself and your full name, affiliation, and social handles you are happy for us to share.
RYA Competent Crew (sailing)
OPAL French Proficiency
– Institute of Physics – member of the Plasma Physics Group, Science Communicators group and Women in Physics group
– Vice President of the Alpine Club 2019/2020.
– Founder ambassador of the Your Life campaign and a STEM ambassador
– Trustee of Edirisa UK, set up in 2005, which supports communities and education in Uganda
If you are a student wondering how I got into physics and the work that I do, read the Week in the Working World blog I wrote for Alcester Grammar School’s Life magazine. I don’t have a normal week, so it’s more a story of how I came to be doing what I do. I also talk more about my career journey so far in a video for STEM Ambassadors here.
THINGS WE LOVE
skiing ⋄ mountains ⋄ science ⋄ green ⋄ classical literature ⋄ sunny mornings ⋄ dancing ⋄ apples ⋄ singing ⋄ tea ⋄ space