Stephen J. Cowley
Address, Telephone, Fax and Email
Papers and Talks
University of Cambridge Council
From 1 January 2017 until 31 December 2020 I am an elected member in
class (c) of
of the University of Cambridge (I was first elected for four
years from 1 January 2007, was re-elected from 1 January 2011, then had
two years off before being re-elected for my currect term). The
University's Council is the principal executive and policy-making body
of the University. The University maintains a "Register of Interests" of
members of the
- As a result of being a member of the Council, I am also a member of a
- Most of the time I agree with decisions of the Council, however
occasionally I do not
(e.g. over Statute
- I am a member of
the Campaign for
Science & Engineering (formerly Save British
Science). You too might like to join if you care about the
scientific health of the UK (it's £25 p.a., although there is an
offer of one year’s free membership if you are a student in your final
year of undergraduate studies).
- If you are interested in promoting good science and evidence for the
public then I recommend Sense About
Science. In particular they have a booklet and web page on
Sense of Statistics.
The University and College Union (UCU)
- For my many sins I am a member of Cambridge UCU (formerly
Cambridge AUT). If you work in higher education you ought to think about
joining the UCU (even if
it is not the most wonderful organisation in the world). This is because
it is our national negotiating body for pay (sorry, stipends),
pensions, etc., and if "moderates" do not join ...
- For those of you who believe I am a fully paid-up member of the
awkward squad, Ross
Anderson once commented "I know you're uneasy about anything that
seems bolshie ..." (and he wasn't being sarcastic, but I suppose that
I have never tried to blow-up my College room).
- Following on from the lead of the University Library
I am tempted to suggest my Senior Lectureship as a naming
already has the Lucasian Chair, the G.I. Taylor Chair and the Stokes
Lectureship; by endowing my
Your-Name-Here Senior Lectureship, or even my
Whatever-You-Want-But-Not-Chelsea-or-BAT Senior Lectureship
with a large market supplement of 125%
you may (or, to be honest, may not) help ensure DAMTP's legacy for the
benefit of future generations, but you will almost certainly make me
We Clone the Spy
- An anagram of "Stephen Cowley".
In his book East and West (recommended, even if I do not necessarily
agree with all arguments concerning the market economy), Chris Patten quotes
from The Analects of Confucius. The following appeal, and are relevant
to ethics/`spin' in politics, academia, ...
There is also a longer extract that might be worth reading before
writing a research proposal, or RAE/REF submission, or self-assessment
for the SR/TQA, or ...
- `To worship gods that are not yours, that is toadyism. Not
to act when justice commands, that is cowardice.'
- `Riches and rank are what every man craves; yet if the
only way to obtain them goes against his principles, he should desist from
such a pursuit.'
Faculty of Mathematics
From 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2014 I was Chair of
The Board of Scrutiny
For four years up to 30 September 2005 I was an elected member of the
University's Board of
Scrutiny. The Board might be described as a toothless watchdog with
a loudish bark composed of members who care about the University but who
are not (on the whole) part of the "establishment". More formally, the
role of the Board of Scrutiny is to examine the way in which the
University is run, and to comment on this to the University's governing
body, the Regent House. Each year the Board is required to look at
several documents (the University's accounts, the Allocations Report,
and the Council's Annual Report), and it may then investigate any
matters that arise from these documents. In doing so, the Board is
empowered to consult any official document (although it sometimes helps
to be told where to look), and to make enquiries of any Officer.
The Board has no executive power. Instead, it acts as a review body, to look
retrospectively at what has happened in the University over the previous
The University Nursery
For three years up to 30 September 1999 I was a member of the Parents
Nursery Association Committee.
For eight years up to 30 September 1998 I was a mathematics Fellow of Selwyn
College (I was also a Fellow for nine months in 1981). During
this period I wrote
a short note on wooden spoons (which Selwyn had somewhat a history of).
Steven Charles Cowley
Dear headhunters, etc., in order to confuse matters there is another
working on fluids [and plasmas] using asymptotic methods. There are a
number of distinguishing features:
- He is a "Prof.", I am a "Dr".
- He has a "v", I have a "ph".
- He prefers "Steve", I prefer "Stephen".
- He is
I am not (although I did receive one email of congratulations before
Steve's FRS was announced).
- He is a Knight
Bachelor, I am not (and received no emails of congratulations).
- In 2013 he was listed 81st in the
100 Most Influential Men in Britain, I was not.
- I was born in London and work in Cambridge, he was born in
Cambridge, used to work in London, but is now the
Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (he was also
Corpus Christi College Oxford, and before that he was
of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy).
- In summary, I am the older mark I version, he is the younger and
much improved mark II version.
- As a footnote I might add that I used to spend Fridays at Imperial
(with the email address
Stephen.Cowley@imperial.ac.uk, since defunct), while
Steve had a
visiting position at Imperial (and the email address
University of Cambridge.