About the Author
About Peter Sturrock
Peter Andrew Sturrock (born 1924) grew up in Essex, England, and attended Palmers Endowed School in Grays. He studied mathematics at Cambridge University (with an interruption for radar research from 1944 until 1947), where he received his B.A. and M.A. degrees and was awarded the University Rayleigh Prize in 1949, a Ph.D. in 1951, and a Prize Fellowship at St John's College in 1952. After research at the National Bureau of Standards, the University of Paris, the Cavendish Laboratory, and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, he moved to Stanford University in 1955. After research at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN; 1957-58), he returned to Stanford, where he was Professor of Applied Physics from 1961 until 1998. He served as Director of the Institute for Plasma Research from 1964-74 and from 1980-83, and as Director of the Center for Space Science and Astrophysics from 1992 until 1998. He has also served as Chairman of the Plasma Physics Division of the American Physical Society (1965-1966), as Chairman of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society (1974-1975), and as President of the Society for Scientific Exploration (1981 – 2001).
His research interests have included electron physics, particle accelerators, plasma physics, solar physics, astrophysics, scientific inference, and various anomalous phenomena. One of his inventions was that of the "fast-wave microwave tube" that operates on a principle subsequently rediscovered as the "free-electron laser."
He has received the annual prize of the Gravity Foundation (1967), the Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1986), the Arctowski Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (1990), the Space Science Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1992), and the Dinsdale Prize of the Society for Scientific Exploration. He has published over three hundred scientific articles; edited five volumes that review areas of plasma physics, solar physics, and astrophysics, three monographs [Static and Dynamic Electron Optics (1955), Plasma Physics (1994), and The UFO Enigma (1999)], and his memoirs [A Tale of Two Sciences (2010)].