John Bryan Taylor

John Bryan Taylor (born 26 December 1928)[1][2] is a British physicist known for his contributions to plasma physics and their application in the field of fusion energy. Notable among these is the development of the "Taylor state", describing a minimum-energy configuration that conserves magnetic helicity.[3][4] Another development was his work on the ballooning transformation, which describes the motion of plasma in toroidal (donut) configurations, which are used in the fusion field.[5][6] Taylor has also made contributions to the theory of the Earth's Dynamo, including the Taylor constraint.[7]

John Bryan Taylor
Born (1928-12-26) December 26, 1928 (age 92)
NationalityUnited Kingdom
EducationBirmingham University (Ph.D.)
Scientific career
FieldsPlasma physics

Early life and careerEdit

Taylor was born in Birmingham. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1950–1952, and then took his PhD at Birmingham University in 1955. Upon graduation, he joined the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, and in 1962 moved to the Culham Laboratory, where he became Chief Physicist. He held several other positions during this period, including the Commonwealth Fund Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in 1959 to 1960, the Institute for Advanced Study in 1969, 1973 and 1980–81, and finally took the position of Fondren Professor of Plasma Theory at the University of Texas at Austin in 1989. Taylor is still actively involved in fusion science, working with Culham laboratory and Oxford University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1970.[8]

Honors and awardsEdit

Taylor won the Institute of Physics's James Clerk Maxwell Medal and Prize in 1971,[9] and the Max Born Medal and Prize in 1979.[10] He then went on to win the American Physical Society's James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics in 1999.[11]

Taylor initiated the study of chaos in magnetic surfaces, developing several contributions to chaos theory and introducing the "standard map" (or Chirikov–Taylor map).[12][13] He studied 2D-plasmas, demonstrating the inherent Bohm diffusion which had been noticed in magnetic bottles since the 1950s.[14][15] He then played a major part in developing the "ballooning transformation" for toroidal plasmas, along with Jack Connor and Jim Hastie, which won him the 2004 Hannes Alfvén Prize.[16]


  1. ^ "Eighty years young". ITER. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Taylor, Prof. John Bryan, (born 26 Dec. 1928), Fondren Professor of Plasma Theory, University of Texas at Austin, 1989–94; Chief Physicist, 1981–89, Consultant, 1994–2008, UKAEA Culham Laboratory | WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U37121. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  3. ^ Hart, G. W.; Janos, A.; Meyerhofer, D. D.; Yamada, M. (1986). "Verification of the Taylor (minimum energy) state in a spheromak". The Physics of Fluids. 29 (6): 1994–1997. Bibcode:1986PhFl...29.1994H. doi:10.1063/1.865627. ISSN 0031-9171.
  4. ^ Diamond, P. H.; Malkov, M. (2003). "Dynamics of helicity transport and Taylor relaxation". Physics of Plasmas. 10 (6): 2322–2329. Bibcode:2003PhPl...10.2322D. doi:10.1063/1.1576390. ISSN 1070-664X.
  5. ^ Connor, J. W.; Hastie, R. J.; Taylor, J. B. (1978). "Shear, Periodicity, and Plasma Ballooning Modes". Physical Review Letters. 40 (6): 396–399. Bibcode:1978PhRvL..40..396C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.40.396.
  6. ^ Connor, J. W.; Taylor, J. B. (1987). "Ballooning modes or Fourier modes in a toroidal plasma?". The Physics of Fluids. 30 (10): 3180–3185. Bibcode:1987PhFl...30.3180C. doi:10.1063/1.866493. ISSN 0031-9171.
  7. ^ Taylor, J. B. 1963. "The magnetohydrodynamics of a rotating fluid and the Earth's dynamo problem,". Proc. R. Soc. London, A274: 274–283.
  8. ^ "List of Fellows of the Royal Society 1660 – 2007" (PDF). Royal Society. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Maxwell medal recipients". Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Born medal recipients". Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  11. ^ "1999 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  12. ^ Rechester, A. B.; Rosenbluth, M. N.; White, R. B. (1981). "Fourier-space paths applied to the calculation of diffusion for the Chirikov-Taylor model". Physical Review A. 23 (5): 2664–2672. Bibcode:1981PhRvA..23.2664R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.23.2664.
  13. ^ Beaufume, P.; Dubois, M. A.; Benkadda, M. S. Mohamed (1990). "Diffusion in the noisy Chirikov-Taylor mapping". Physics Letters A. 147 (2): 87–91. Bibcode:1990PhLA..147...87B. doi:10.1016/0375-9601(90)90873-M. ISSN 0375-9601.
  14. ^ Hobbs, G. D.; Taylor, J. B. (1968). "Plasma diffusion in multipoles". Plasma Physics. 10 (3): 207–212. Bibcode:1968PlPh...10..207H. doi:10.1088/0032-1028/10/3/301. ISSN 0032-1028.
  15. ^ Taylor, J. B.; McNamara, B. (1971). "Plasma Diffusion in Two Dimensions". The Physics of Fluids. 14 (7): 1492–1499. Bibcode:1971PhFl...14.1492T. doi:10.1063/1.1693635. ISSN 0031-9171.
  16. ^ Lister, Dr Jo (2004). "Award of the 2004 Hannes Alfvén Prize of the European Physical Society to J W Connor, R J Hastie and J B Taylor". Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. 46 (12B). doi:10.1088/0741-3335/46/12B/E02. ISSN 0741-3335.