Llewellyn Smith is a theoretical particle physicist who has spent much of his career at Oxford University, where he was responsible for merging five separate departments into a single physics department. He was director general of the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva from 1994 until 1998, when he moved to University College London (UCL) as provost and president. He resigned from UCL in 2002 following opposition to his plans for modernization. At Culham he replaces Derek Robinson, who died last December.

“The UK has a great track record, and a crucial role to play in developing fusion as a source of clean, safe and renewable energy,” says Llewellyn Smith. “Culham also has an important role to play in technology transfer and in fostering science and engineering talent, and has links with universities that range from plasma physics to materials science."

Llewellyn Smith received the Glazebrook Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics in 1999 and was awarded a knighthood in 2001. His move from particle physics to fusion follows the announcement at the end of last year that Robert Aymar, currently leader of the ITER fusion project, would be moving in the opposite direction to become the next director general of CERN.