Russell Cowburn has research interests in nanotechnology and its application to magnetism, electronics and optics. Before returning to Cambridge in 2010 he held positions at the CNRS Paris, University of Durham and Imperial College London. He is the founder of two start-up companies and the inventor of the anti-counterfeiting technology ‘Laser Surface Authentication’. He has had over 60 patents granted and is a frequent invited speaker at international conferences. He is the winner of the GSK Westminster Medal and Prize, the Degussa Science to Business Award, the Hermes International Technology Award and the Institute of Physics Paterson Medal and Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.