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Steve Roberts

MA (MA, PhD Camb)


Steve Roberts studied Natural Science at Cambridge University (Queens’ College), and did a PhD there on modification of mechanical behaviour of materials by ion irradiation: 30 years later, this topic gathered strength again in his group’s study of radiation-resistant materials. After completing his PhD, he moved in 1981 to Oxford, as a postdoctoral researcher under Sir Peter Hirsch, on a project to try to make diamond ductile. This project diverged into research into the basic mechanisms which control the balance between plastic flow and fracture in semiconductors, ceramics and metals.

He became a University Lecturer in 1992, with a Fellowship at St Cross College; he moved to St Edmund Hall as a Tutorial Fellow in 2002, so as to better combine teaching with research. He was made Professor of Materials in 2006. In 2013, Steve moved to a research-only post, partly supported by the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

Steve’s group’s research developed new techniques for understanding mechanical behaviour at the micrometre scale, looking at the behaviour of the basic building blocks of engineering alloys. He led three major EPSRC-funded projects in which these techniques, in parallel with computer modelling, electron and atom-probe microscopy and new processing methods, were used in the study and development of materials for the extreme conditions that will be experienced in new generations of fusion and fission power plants.

Steve is senior member of the Oxford University Cave Club, having been caving since he was graduate student. He has more recently taken up sailing, keeping a 28` boat in Portsmouth Harbour.


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