Franklin Laureate Database
James R. Powell, Ph.D.
Director, Maglev 2000 of Florida Corporation
President, Danby Powell Maglev Technology Corporation
Subject: Mechanical Engineering
Award: Benjamin Franklin
Citation: For the invention of a novel repulsive magnetically-levitated train system using superconducting magnets and subsequent work in the field.
Together with Gordon Danby, James Powell invented and holds the patent for the Superconducting Maglev (magnetic levitation) transportation systems. This invention is the basis for the Tokyo to Osaka maglev route spanning 300 miles. Their inventions also include the inductive levitation and stabilization guideway, null flux geometry, and the Linear Synchonous Motor for vehicle propulsion.
Powell received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1953 and his Sc.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958. He joined Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1956 and remained on staff for 40 years, until his retirement in 1996.