Vernon Cooray

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Vernon Cooray
Vernon Cooray.jpg
ResidenceSweden Uppsala, Sweden
NationalitySri Lanka Sri Lankan Sweden Swedish
EducationDe Mazenod College

University of Colombo

Uppsala University
OccupationProfessor of Electrical Engineering
EmployerUppsala University
Known forLightning Research

High Voltage Engineering

Discharge Physics
Spouse(s)Ruby Cooray
ChildrenGerald Cooray Charith Cooray

Vernon Cooray is a Sri Lankan born scientist. At present he is a professor at the Department of Engineering Science at Uppsala University, Sweden. As a scientist he has concentrated on solving both physics and engineering problems related to lightning physics, lightning protection and physics of electrical discharges. This research work has resulted in more than 350 research publications. He is the Ph.D. thesis supervisor of more than thirty researchers, both at Uppsala and foreign universities, who are now actively engaged in lightning research and lightning protection in different parts of the world.[1][2][3][4]

Early Life and Career[edit]

After completing his primary and secondary education at De Mazenod College, Kandana, Sri Lanka, he joined the University of Colombo in 1971 and obtained an honours degree in physics with a first class in 1976. In 1978 he enrolled as a Ph.D. student at Uppsala University. His thesis advisor was Professor Stig Lundquist who was a plasma physicist and a student of the noble laureate Hannes Alfvén of Sweden. After his Ph.D., Vernon Cooray was absorbed into the world renowned lightning research group of Uppsala University. Continuing the tradition of lightning research at Uppsala University he has made major contributions in the fields of lightning research, lightning protection and physics of laboratory sparks. In 2000 he was promoted to a full professor at Uppsala University and between 2000 and 2002 he was the head of the division of electricity. In 2014 he was elected as the president of the International Conference on Lightning Protection (ICLP) for a period of six years[5][2]. ICLP is considered as the most prestigious conference in the world that addresses the problems related to lightning physics and lightning protection and attended by lightning researchers and engineers from all over the world[6]. At present, he is the professor responsible for the research and Ph.D. studies in the field of atmospheric electrical discharges at Uppsala University.[1] Vernon Cooray has also contributed to educate the general public on lightning and lightning protection through newspapers, radio and television[7][8][9][10].


Vernon Cooray has made many contribution in lightning research and lightning protection. Some of his notable contributions are the following. He is the first scientist to show that the basic foundation of all engineering return stroke models are the same even though they are expressed in different mathematical formulations[11][12]. He is also the first scientist to resolve one of the controversies that existed in 1980s between the EMC engineers and Power engineers related to the theories of interaction of lightning electromagnetic fields with power lines by showing that a model developed by Prof. Sune Rusck, and used frequently by power engineers, is identical to the model developed by Agrawal et al., frequently used by EMC engineers[13]. He and his collaborators were the first group of scientists to show that lightning cloud flashes are as efficient as lightning ground flashes in generating nitrogen oxides[14]. He together with Prof. Marcos Rubinstein developed the Cooray-Rubinstein approximation which is frequently used in analysing the voltages induced in power lines by lightning[15]. Vernon Cooray and Marley Becerra developed the lightning interaction simulation program SLIM that can be used to predict the location of lightning strikes to structures[16]. More recently, he together with Dr. Gerald Cooray illustrated a connection between classical electromagnetic fields and time energy uncertainty principle[17][18].


In addition to numerous scientific publications, Vernon Cooray has edited three books[19][20][21] and authored two books[22][23] on lightning physics and lightning protection. He has been awarded the Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) honorary degree from University of Colombo in Sri Lanka[24], the IEEE fellow membership[25], the Karl Berger award from the international scientific committee of ICLP[26], and the best book award from the Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) [27].


  1. ^ a b "Vernon Cooray - Uppsala University, Sweden".
  2. ^ a b "About the Authors - An Introduction to Lightning".
  3. ^ "Cooray, Vernon". Uppsala University Publications.
  4. ^ "Vernon Cooray - Uppsala University, Uppsala - UU - ResearchGate". ResearchGate.
  5. ^ "ICLP Centre - Committees".
  6. ^ "ICLP Centre - about".
  7. ^ "Blixtmaster Vernon Cooray upplyser Institutet" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  8. ^ "Högsäsong för blixt och dunder" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  9. ^ "Många myter om blixt och dunder" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  10. ^ "Trots att risken är liten – Sex av tio svenskar är åskrädda" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  11. ^ Cooray, Vernon (2003). "On the concepts used in return stroke models applied in engineering practice". IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 45 (1): 101–108. doi:10.1109/TEMC.2002.808041.
  12. ^ Cooray, Vernon (2009). "A Novel Procedure to Represent Lightning Return Strokes Current Dissipation Return Stroke Models". IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 51 (3): 748–755. doi:10.1109/TEMC.2009.2019764.
  13. ^ Cooray, Vernon (1994). "Calculating lightning-induced overvoltages in power lines. A comparison of two coupling models". IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 36 (3): 179–182. doi:10.1109/15.305462.
  14. ^ Cooray, Vernon; Rahman, Mahbubur; Rakov, Vladimir (2009). "On the NOx production by laboratory electrical discharges and lightning". Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. 71 (17–18): 1877–1889. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2009.07.009.
  15. ^ Cooray, Vernon (2002). "Some considerations on the "Cooray-Rubinstein" formulation used in deriving the horizontal electric field of lightning return strokes over finitely conducting ground". IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 44 (4): 560–566. doi:10.1109/TEMC.2002.804774.
  16. ^ Becerra, Marley; Cooray, Vernon (2006). "A self-consistent upward leader propagation model". Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. 39 (16): 3708–3715. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/39/16/028.
  17. ^ Cooray, Vernon; Cooray, Gerald (2017). "On the Action of the Radiation Field Generated by a Traveling-Wave Element and Its Connection to the Time Energy Uncertainty Principle, Elementary Charge and the Fine Structure Constant". Atmosphere. MDPI. 8 (3): 46. doi:10.3390/atmos8030046.
  18. ^ Cooray, Vernon; Cooray, Gerald (2016). "On the Momentum Transported by the Radiation Field of a Long Transient Dipole and Time Energy Uncertainty Principle". Atmosphere. MDPI. 7 (11): 151. doi:10.3390/atmos7110151.
  19. ^ "The Lightning Flash, 2nd Edition - The IET".
  20. ^ "Lightning Protection - The IET".
  21. ^ "Lightning Electromagnetics - The IET".
  22. ^ "An Introduction to Lightning - Vernon Cooray - Springer".
  23. ^ "Blixt och åska. Så fungerar naturens fyrverkeri".
  24. ^ "Lightning researcher awarded Honorary Doctorate in Sri Lanka - Uppsala University, Sweden".
  25. ^ Sabath, F. (2017). "EMC personality profile". IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Magazine. 6 (2): 38–40. doi:10.1109/MEMC.0.7989989 – via IEEE Xplore.
  26. ^ "Vernon Cooray wins 2012 Karl Berger Award - Uppsala University, Sweden".
  27. ^ "2015 ASLI Choice Awards Winners". 21 January 2016.