The backbone of the Royal Society is its Fellowship, which is made up of the most eminent scientist, engineer and technologists from the UK and Commonwealth.  Fellows and Foreign Members are elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of excellence in science. 

We are very lucky to have had many Fellows of the Royal Society working within our Department:


Jenny Nelson (2014)

Nelson Professor Jenny Nelson is distinguished for the development of fundamental physical models, simulation tools and experiments to discover and exploit relationships between the performance of photovoltaic devices and the physical and chemical properties of the constituent materials. She has driven advances in the science and design of quantum semiconductor heterostructures, nanocrystalline oxide, conjugated molecular and hybrid organic-inorganic materials. Through analysis of the electronic, optical and structural properties of these materials she has explained device performance, introduced physical models of device function and developed analytical, numerical and experimental tools for characterisation, diagnostics and design, which have attracted the sustained interest and support of industry. 

Joanna Haigh CBE (2013)

Haigh Joanna Haigh's research is contributing to a new understanding of climate variability through the use of atmospheric modelling and the examination of solar UV radiation absorption in the stratosphere and the mechanisms by which this impacts on the atmosphere beneath. She is President of the Royal Meteorological Society and was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment on climate change in 2001.

Professor Haigh joined Imperial as a lecturer in 1984; was appointed Professor of Atmospheric Physics in 2001 and Head of the Department of Physics from 2009-2014. She has published widely in the area of radiative transfer in the atmosphere, climate modelling, radiative forcing of climate change and the influence of solar irradiance variability on climate.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Meteorological Society and in 2004 received the Institute of Physics Charles Chree Medal and Prize for her work on solar influences on climate. More recently she won the Royal Meteorological Society Adrian Gill Prize in 2011, for significant contributions to the interface between atmospheric science and solar physics. Professor Haigh was awarded a CBE in 2013 for her services to physics.

Professor Haigh is currently a Co-Director of the Gratham Institute of Climate Change.

Tejinder (Jim) Virdee (2012)

Virdee Professor Tejinder (Jim) Virdee for several years led the team of thousands of international scientists that designed and built the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector - one of the two main experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider and one of the most complex scientific instruments ever built, weighing 14,000 tonnes and with a length of 30m and a diameter of 15m.

The scientists working on CMS are hoping to solve some of the mysteries of nature, such as where mass comes from, what is the composition of dark matter, whether there are more than three spatial dimensions, and taking steps towards a much fuller understanding of how our universe works. A key element of this is looking for signs of the elusive Higgs boson particle, which has been theorised but has never actually been seen. At the end of 2011, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider reported what have been described as tantalising hints of the Higgs boson, but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery. They expect that data being taken in 2012 will clarify the situation.

"I am truly honoured and delighted to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society. This is a recognition of the tremendous work that has been accomplished during the last 20 years in the CMS experiment, a technological marvel that has pushed many boundaries. The construction of CM S has required the talents and resources of thousands of scientists and engineers worldwide. For me pe rsonally, it has been particularly satisfying to follow CMS from its conception to the construction and nowadays its successful operation in its quest for the Higgs boson and new physical phenomena," said Professor Virdee.

Professor Virdee completed his PhD at Imperial in 1979 and was appointed professor in the High Energy Physics Group in 1996.

Michele Dougherty (2012)

Dougherty Professor Michele Dougherty is a space physicist and Principal Investigator of the Cassini magnetometer instrument, which was launched onboard the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft in 1997.

The mission reached Saturn in 2004, where it went into orbit and began collecting information on the structure and behaviour of the planet's giant rings, its atmosphere, the magnetic field environment surrounding the giant gas planet, and the many icy moons in orbit around it. Through Cassini, Professor Dougherty and her team made the unexpected discovery that one of Saturn's small moons, Enceladus, is emitting clouds of water vapour from cracks at its south pole.

Professor Dougherty is now the lead scientist for the European Space Agency's JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) / Laplace mission, which is a strong candidate to be launched as the first large European spacecraft mission in 2022.

"I'm delighted and privileged to have been elected to the Royal Society. It is wonderful and very exciting to have one's work honoured in such a way. I would like to thank my many colleagues I have worked with over the years, at Imperial and on the Cassini team – I am indebted to them for their support and the interactions and collaborations we have had," she said.

Professor Dougherty was awarded the Royal Society Hughes medal in 2008 and the Institute of Physics Chree medal in 2007, recognising her leadership on the Cassini mission and the discovery of a dynamic atmosphere at Enceladus.

Chris Hull (2012)

Hull Chris Hull is distinguished for his imaginative and influential contributions to quantum gravity, specifically Super-String and Supergravity Theories. His work with Townsend on the dual relationships of different forms of the theory involving supersymmetric solitons led to a revolution in the subject establishing a unified viewpoint now called M-Theory. His work with Douglas incorporating non-commutative geometry is one of many innovations bringing ideas in mathematics into play. His investigations on the ultra-violet divergences of supersymmetric non-linear sigma-models play a central role in discussions of the finiteness and consistency of String Theory. Currently Hull has classified supersymmetric M-Theory backgrounds in eleven dimensions showing that they entail novel geometric structures with holonomy group SL(32,R) and is developing generalisations of field theory and geometry involving infinitely many tensor fields. He also leads and inspires a talented group of young researchers at Imperial College. 

Russell Cowburn (2010)

Russell Cowburn is distinguished for his research on magetism in nanostructures, and for the translation of his scientific discoveries into disruptive technologies. He pioneered the artificial structuring of magnetic materials by nanolithography to modify and control magnetic properties, making the first experimental observations of the vortex state in magnetic nanostructures and developing the concept of the domain wall conduit, which is now widely used in nanomagnetism. His measurements were facilitated by his own design of one of the most sensitive laser instruments to measure local changes in magnetisation. Half scientist, half technologist, he initiated the field of magnetic logic and is the inventor of the anti-counterfeiting laser-based technology Laser Surface Authentication. In 2010 Rusell moved to Combridge University to become Director of Research (Physics). 

Michael Duff (2009)


Michael Duff has held the Abdus Salam Chair of Theoretical Physics since 2006 and specialises in theories that unify the elementary particles. During the 1980s, he championed the concept of 11 space-time dimensions (11D). Now he works on M-theory, which unifies his work on 11D with string theory, and includes finding evidence for the phenomenon of supersymmetry. This is one of the first things scientists will be looking for when they switch on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where Professor Duff worked as Senior Physicist 1984-1987.

"One of the things I have enjoyed overall about my career is that rare excitement of stumbling across something completely new, and the extraordinary feeling of seeing something that no-one else yet knows about," says Professor Duff. "These days I also take enormous pleasure from working with my graduate students – we have a lot of fun trying to figure out new problems together."


Professor Duff gained his PhD from Imperial College under Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam in 1972. He worked at Imperial as a member of staff from 1979-1987. After professorships at Texas A&M University and University of Michigan, he returned to Imperial as Professor of Physics in 2005 and Principal of the Faculty of Physical Sciences.

David Wark (2007)

Wark Professor Dave Wark is an international authority on neutrino physics and a member of the High Energy Physics group in Imperial's Department of Physics. Neutrinos are elementary particles which travel close to the speed of light, do not have an electrical charge, and are created as a result of certain types of radioactive decay or nuclear reactions. In 2007 Professor Wark was appointed to the prestigious role of international spokesperson for the 'From Tokai to Kamioka' (T2K) experiment in Japan. This experiment consists of a 'superbeam' of muon-type neutrinos which will be fired along a 295km path, 1km below the ground in Japan. T2K team hope to record new evidence of the muon-type neutrinos oscillating into electron-type neutrinos and back again – a recently discovered phenomenon.

Ed Hinds (2004)

Hinds Ed Hinds has undergraduate and doctoral degrees in physics from Oxford University. He has held Chairs in Physics at Yale University, Sussex University and Imperial College London and he is currently a Royal Society Research Professor and Director of the Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the Americal Physical Society, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society, and was awarded the 2008 Thomson Medal and Prize of the IoP and the 2008 Rumford Medal of the Royal Society.

His research is on fundamental problems in physics and on new methods for producing and manipulating cold atoms and molecules. Past highlights include the most precise measurement of the electron’s electric dipole moment (i.e. its shape), the first observation of the anisotropic vacuum in a cavity, and the first measurement of the Casimir-Polder force between an atom and a surface. His current work can be described under three headings: (i) Quantum coherent manipulation of atoms and photons on atom chips; (ii) Production and applications of cold molecules; (iii) Tests of fundamental physical laws, especially measurement of the electron’s electric dipole moment

Ed currently Chairs the EDAN committee after spending three years as a member of that group. This involvement reflects his firm belief that a fair, open and diverse scientific community is bound to be stronger, more creative and more productive – and indeed more fun to work in!

Donal Bradley (2004)


Donal Bradley graduated from the Imperial College of Science and Technology with a first class BSc and ARCS in Physics in 1983, receiving the Royal Society for the Encouragment of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce Silver Medal and Fellowship (FRSA) as an outstanding graduate of the Royal College of Science.  His postgraduate research was carried out in the Physics and Chemistry of Solids Group at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge where he received his PhD in 1987 for a thesis entitled Spectroscopic Characterisation of the Processible Conjugated Polymers Poly(1,4-diphenylenediphenylvinylene) and Poly(p-phenylenevinylene).  He was subsequently a BP funded Research Associate (1987), the Unilever Research Fellow in Chemical Physics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1987-89), and a Toshiba Fellow within the Chemical Laboratory at the Toshiba R&D Center in Kawasaki, Japan (1987-88). In 1989 he was appointed University Assistant Lecturer in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory (1989-93) and College Lecturer in Physics and Title A Fellow (1989-93) at Churchill College, Cambridge, subsequently becoming Director of Studies in Physics (1992-93).  In 1993 he moved to a Readership in the Department of Physics at the University of Sheffield, being promoted to Professor in 1995.  During a seven year stay in Sheffield he founded the Molecular Electronic Materials and Devices Group (now led by Professor David Lidzey) and held both the Royal Society Amersham International Senior Research Fellowship (1996-97) and a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (1997-98). He was also Warden of Tapton Hall of Residence (1994-99), and Co-Director (1994-95), then Director (1995-2000) of the Centre for Molecular Materials.  Professor Bradley returned to his Alma Mater as the Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics in 2000 to lead a new strategic initiative on molecular electronic materials and has served as Head of the Experimental Solid State Physics Group (2001-04, 2005) and a Director of Imperial College London Consultants Ltd (2005-06).  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2004, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) in 2005 and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (FIET) in 2013.  He was appointed Head of Department in 2005 and became Lee-Lucas Professor in 2006.  Promotion to Deputy Principal of the Faculty of Natural Sciences followed in 2008 and in 2009 he was appointed as the first Director of the newly established Imperial College London Centre for Plastic Electronics, one of five UK National Centres of Excellence in the Plastic Electronics sector.  Professor Bradley was awarded a CBE in the 2010 New Years Honours for services to science. In October 2011, he was appointed Pro-Rector (Research), chairing the College's Research Committee and joining the College Management Board. From 1st August 2013, following a reorganisation of the College management structures Professor Bradley became the first Vice-Provost (Research), joining the Provost's Board. 


Professor Bradley's research focuses on the physics and application of molecular electronic materials and devices, a subject highlighted in successive International Reviews of UK Physics and Materials research as having produced outputs of the highest quality. Professor Bradley's contributions to the subject have led to wide-ranging publications that address both fundamental and more applied topics, and that place him amongst the 1% most highly cited physicists and materials scientists in the world (ISI Highly Cited Scientist). He has an h-index of 89 (m = 3.07), having thus far published some 548 ISI listed publications with  > 44,200 citations (ISI Web of Knowledge). He is a co-inventor of conjugated polymer electroluminescence, co-founder of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd, co-founder and formerly Director of Molecular Vision Ltd, member of C-Change (UK) LLP and Director of Solar Press Ltd with more than twenty five patent families to his name.

Adrian Sutton (2003)

Sutton Professor Adrian Sutton:

I am a materials physicist who applies fundamental physics to understand and predict the structure and properties of materials of technological significance. My interests are at the interface between condensed matter physics and materials science. My work involves theory spanning classical and quantum mechanics, elastic field theory of defects and their interactions in solids, transport of atoms, electrons and heat in solids, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, electronic structure and interatomic forces.

Although my research is theoretical and computational in nature I have always been attracted to problems that have some experimental and/or engineering significance. I relish the challenge of breaking into areas of materials science where there has been no theory or simulation before, and this explains the unusual breadth of my research, and its problem-driven rather than technique-driven nature, spanning as it does metals and alloys, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers and composites, functional and mechanical properties. The problems I choose usually involve the atomic and molecular length scales, but the influence of atomic scale processes and mechanisms on the evolution of microstructure has also been a theme of my research over the past decade or so. My contributions to materials physics were recognised in 2003 through my election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society.

I am one of the four fellows of the Royal Society who founded the Thomas Young Centre at a meeting in the Royal Institution on July 13, 2005. The other three fellows were Professors Marshall Stoneham (deceased), Gabriel Aeppli and Richard Catlow. The TYC is the London Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials, and involves more than 80 research groups at Imperial College London, UCL, KCL, QMUL and NPL.

In October 2009 I became the founding director of the Centre for Doctoral Training on Theory and Simulation of Materials. Two years later Professor Peter Haynes became the director of the CDT and I became the chairman.

Peter Dornan (2003)

Professor Peter Dornan was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his contributions to high energy physics. He led the Imperial group into the ALEPH international collaboration on the Large Electron-Positron Collider at CERN in 1984, and was made spokesman for ALEPH in 1997. 

Bruce Joyce (2000)

Bruce Joyce Resumé of the Research Career of Professor Bruce Joyce

I have worked primarily on thin film growth and surface studies of elemental and III-V compound semiconductors, with particular emphasis on the use of in-situ diagnostic techniques. My earliest work was concerned with the growth of homoepitaxial silicon films by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and the evaluation of their structural properties by electron microscopy. I was the first to use silicon hydrides (principally silane, SiH4) in a low pressure reactor, a process which has become the industry standard. I also used this method to grow epitaxial silicon films on single crystal quartz and sapphire ( -alumina), which was the first reported work on the use of insulating substrates for silicon films. To overcome the complications of fluid dynamic effects on the measurement of surface processes, which are inherent to CVD, I devised a molecular beam approach using silane under ultra-high-vacuum (UHV) conditions, which ensured that the first collision of incident molecules was with the substrate in a relatively uncontaminated environment [15]. This has since become known as Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), but was published several years before the Bell Laboratories group first reported their work on the deposition of III-V compound films and coined the acronym “MBE”. At the time, silicon growth rates achievable with MBE were too slow to produce layers for the fabrication of devices then in vogue, so I began a study of the growth of III-V compound films by MBE and developed a modulated molecular beam system to study the surface chemistry of Group IIIGroup V element interactions on III-V compound substrates. We were the first to use fast Fourier transform techniques on-line for reaction kinetic data analysis [32]. This work led to models of Ga-As4 and Ga-As2 reactions on the GaAs (001) surface which are still accepted as valid and which have quite recently been substantiated at the atomistic level by scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) experiments and kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulations [305]. MBE provides an ideal means of producing damage-free reconstructed surfaces and we were the first to combine MBE with reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and synchrotron-radiation excited angle-resolved photoemission (ARPES) in a single system to study the symmetry and stoichiometry of reconstructed GaAs (001) surfaces [48] and their electronic structure [64]. This led on to the use of in-situ RHEED measurements to study growth dynamics when we discovered that the intensity of diffraction features oscillated with a period corresponding precisely to the formation of a single atomic (or molecular) layer [72]. Following this initial discovery, the technique effectively became the international standard for growth rate calibrations. By extending it to vicinal plane studies [90] and establishing the effects of diffraction conditions [104], in collaboration with theorists (Professor Dimitri Vvedensky and his group) using Monte Carlo simulations [158], we developed quantitative models for the growth dynamics of epitaxial films of III-V compounds. For this range of work I was awarded the Duddell Medal of the Institute of Physics in 1981 and the IBM (Europe) Science and Technology Prize in 1986. My more recent work on III-V compound films has involved combined in-situ STM-RHEED studies of both the homoepitaxial growth of GaAs on the three low index substrate orientations, and an equivalent investigation of the heteroepitaxial growth of InAs on GaAs (where there is a 7% lattice mismatch) to evaluate the influence of strain and strain relaxation processes. The homoepitaxial growth studies [292, 305] have shown the profound influence of orientation and surface reconstruction on nucleation and growth kinetics and dynamics. They have also revealed the importance of RHEED for real-time studies in relation to the snap-shot images produced by STM. Complementary RHEED work designed to measure arsenic incorporation rates [264] has confirmed the essential features of the early kinetic models [35]. During this stage of my work, the importance of growth instabilities, especially on (110) oriented substrates, has also become apparent [311,323], which has considerable significance in the emerging area of spintronics. The investigation of heteroepitaxial growth in the InAs-GaAs system has demonstrated that the frequently quoted relationship between the growth mode of the film and the strain introduced by the lattice mismatch is inadequate. On (111) and (110) oriented substrates, strain is relaxed by the formation of misfit dislocations, and the growth mode remains two-dimensional, layerby-layer throughout the complete film thickness, whereas on (001) substrates some strain is relaxed by the formation of three-dimensional islands after one or two monolayers of two dimensional growth. It had previously been believed that since the strain is independent of orientation, so were the growth mode and strain relaxation mechanisms. 

Sir Peter Knight (1999)

Knight Professor Sir Peter Knight is Principal of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre. He was an elected member of Council of the Royal Society from 2005 to 2007 and is a member of the Audit Committee and deputy chair of the URF Ai Panel. In 2010 he was awarded the Royal Medal for his pioneering research and international leadership in the field of quantum optics and quantum information science.

Sir Peter is a member of the Imperial College Management Board and Council, and Professor of Quantum Optics. He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2005 for his work in optical physics. He was until 2008 Principal of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Imperial College London. He was Head of the Physics Department, Imperial College London from 2001 to 2005. Peter Knight is a Past-President of the Optical Society of America and was for 7 years a member of their Board of Directors. He is a Director of the OSA Foundation. He was coordinator of the SERC Nonlinear Optics Initiative, past-chair of the EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics Division and Editor of the Journal of Modern Optics from 1987 to 2006. He is Editor of Contemporary Physics and serves on a number of other Editorial Boards. He is a Thomson-ISI “Highly Cited Author.”

Sir Peter is chair of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council at the UK Ministry of Defence and is a Council member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.  Sir Peter was also Chief Scientific Advisor at the UK National Physical Laboratory until the end of 2005.  His research centres on theoretical quantum optics, strong field physics and especially on quantum information science. He has won a number of prizes and awards including the Thomas Young Medal and the Glazebrook Medal of the Institute of Physics and the Ives Medal of the OSA.  He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, a Humboldt Research Award holder at the University of Konstanz and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin and at the University of Rochester. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America and of the Royal Society.

After his doctorate at Sussex University, Sir Peter joined the group of Joe Eberly as a Research Associate from 1972-1974 in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Rochester and at the Physics Department and SLAC, Stanford University, USA, followed by a period as SRC Research Fellow 1974-1976 at Sussex University; and in 1976 was Visiting Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. In 1976 he became Jubilee Research Fellow, 1976-1978 Royal Holloway College, London University, followed by an SERC Advanced Fellowship from 1978-1983, first at RHC from 1978 to 1979, transferring in 1979 to Imperial College. He has remained ever since at Imperial College (apart from very frequent visits to the USA), first as a Lecturer 1983-1987, then Reader 1987-1988 and Professor since 1988.

Ron Newman (1998)

newman Emeritus Professor Ron Newman FRS began and ended his academic career in the Physics Department at Imperial College London. Ron joined the Department as an undergraduate student in 1949 and was awarded a First Class Honours Degree in 1952. He then went on to study for a PhD under the supervision of Sir George Thomson and Professor Maurice Blackman, which he completed in 1955 with a thesis entitled ”The Deposition and Orientation of Thin Metallic Films on Single Crystal Substrates” This was at a time when the Department had great strength in electron diffraction. He co-authored several papers in this area with the late Professor Don Pashley, who was a Post-Doctoral Assistant at the time. They joined forces again at Imperial College over 30 years later.

Having completed his PhD, Ron left College to become a Research Scientist at the then AEI Research Laboratories at Aldermarston Court, where he continued his thin film work, but on semiconductors rather than metals, following the invention of the transistor at Bell Laboratories a few years earlier. For the next nine or ten years he pursued his work in this area, but extended his activities to include the study of crystal defects, diffusion and impurity precipitation, all important topics in the newly emerging field of semiconductor materials.

After the effective closure of AEI Laboratories in 1964 (probably the first of all the important UK industrial research laboratories to be lost), he was appointed to a Lectureship in physics at the University of Reading and was promoted to a Personal Chair in 1975. It was at Reading that he began his work on the local vibrational mode (LVM) spectroscopy of dopants and impurities in semiconductor crystal lattices. It was in this area that he became an international authority, perhaps even a world leader and he continued with great distinction until his retirement in 2000.

In 1988, however, he was invited by the late Professor Tony Stradling to join the newly formed Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) for Semiconductor Materials at Imperial College as an Associate Director, a position he took up in 1989. He joined the Centre (which was directed by Professor Bruce Joyce) with two colleagues from Reading, Dr (now Professor) Ray Murray and John Tucker. They formed the nucleus of a group within the IRC which produced internationally acclaimed work on LVM spectroscopy, mainly on silicon and gallium arsenide, based on Fourier Transform IR techniques. Although Ray and John both left the group to take on other roles in the IRC (and eventually in the Department in the case of Ray), it grew significantly with new postdoctoral research assistants and research students, until the eventual closure of the IRC in 2000. It is an interesting aside that Ron’s move to Reading was initiated by Sir Bill Mitchell, who was Head of the Department at the time and that IRCs were established by Sir Bill during his term as Director of SERC (EPSRC).

Ron’s eminence as a scientist was recognized by his election to Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1998, which afforded him enormous pleasure, and by his membership and chairmanship of a large number of Research Council Committees, starting in 1974. He was also a stereotypical Englishman, perhaps best illustrated by the way he sought out the nearest McDonald’s on visits to countries where exotic food was served, especially Japan!

Emeritus Professor Bruce Joyce FRS (Physics)

Bryan Coles (1991)

Coles Bryan Randall Coles was an emeritus professor in the Department of Physics. He will be remembered for his major contributions to the physics of metals, his encyclopaedic knowledge and intuitive understanding of the physical properties of metallic alloys and compounds, and for his friendship to many scientists, young and old alike.

He was born in Cardiff on 9 June 1926 and brought up in Wales, obtaining his BSc in metallurgy from the University of Wales, Cardiff: he was fond of saying, "my parents thought that a working-class lad with that degree would always find a job in the South Wales steel industry".

He studied for a DPhil at Oxford, where he worked with the eminent metallurgist William Hume-Rothery and developed a lifelong interest in the physics of transition metals and alloys. In 1950 he moved to IC to take up a lectureship in metal physics, and he subsequently became senior lecturer, reader and from 1966 professor of solid state physics.

His years at IC saw exciting developments in research on metals and alloys to which he has made many important contributions. He built up a prominent research group in experimental solid state physics and provided it with inspiration and dynamic leadership, so it is no coincidence that many of his former research students and postdoctoral fellows have remained in this general area of research.

Bryan Coles had close links with the USA. Partly because of these, the work of his group at IC was greatly enhanced by postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists from America. His inaugural lecture, in 1967, entitled 'Solid state physics - in particular metals', was a classic and is recommended reading for any young solid state physicist or materials scientist.

Bryan's facility with language, founded on a wide knowledge of English literature coupled with an innate sense of humour, delighted his colleagues and led to some memorable and elegant phrases. To quote one example, in a review on the Kondo effect, referring to the strange low-temperature behaviour of dilute CuFe alloys, he observed: "What we ascribed to some kind of metallurgical craziness turned out to be the cornerstone of the temple". It was Coles who coined the evocative term 'spin glass' to describe the state of frozen-in magnetic disorder.

Inevitably, as time progressed, he became more involved with university and scientific administration. At Imperial College, he was dean of the Royal College of Science from 1984 to 1986, and College pro rector from 1986 to 1990. There was considerable pleasure when he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, in 1991: this richly deserved honour was a fitting climax to a distinguished career, which continued with his appointment as emeritus professor at Imperial College following official retirement in 1991.

He took up research with renewed vigour after his years as pro rector and travelled extensively and published some 30 papers. He was engaged in discussions about new experiments on his last day at IC, three days before his sudden death.

David Olive CBE (1987)

David Ian Olive CBE FRS FLSW, was a theoretical physicist. Olive made fundamental contributions to string theory and duality theory.  He was Professor of physics at Imperial College, London from 1984 to 1992. In 1992 he moved to Swansea University to help set up the new theoretical physics group. He was awarded the Dirac Prize and Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 1997. He was a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of WalesHe was elected FRS 1987, and appointed CBE in 2002.

Sir John Pendry (1984)

Pendry Sir John Pendry is a condensed matter theorist. He has worked at the Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, since 1981. He began his career in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, followed by six years at the Daresbury Laboratory where he headed the theoretical group. He has worked extensively on electronic and structural properties of surfaces developing the theory of low energy diffraction and of electronic surface states. Another interest is transport in disordered systems where he produced a complete theory of the statistics of transport in one dimensional systems.

In 1992 he turned his attention to photonic materials and developed some of the first computer codes capable of handling these novel materials. This interest led to his present research, the subject of his lecture, which concerns the remarkable electromagnetic properties of materials where the normal response to electromagnetic fields is reversed leading to negative values for the refractive index. This innocent description hides a wealth of fascinating complications. In collaboration with scientists at The Marconi Company he designed a series of ‘metamaterials’ whose properties owed more to their micro-structure than to the constituent materials. These made accessible completely novel materials with properties not found in nature. Successively metamaterials with negative electrical permittivity, then with negative magnetic permeability were designed and constructed. These designs were subsequently the basis for the first material with a negative refractive index, a property predicted 40 years ago by a Russian scientist, but unrealised because of the absence of suitable materials. He went on to explore the surface excitations of the new negative materials and showed that these were part of the surface plasmon excitations familiar in metals. This project culminated in the proposal for a ‘perfect lens’ whose resolution is unlimited by wavelength. These concepts have stimulated further theoretical investigations and many experiments which have confirmed the predicted properties. The simplicity of the new concepts together with their radical consequences have caught the imagination of the world’s media generating much positive publicity for science in general. 

John joined the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1984.

Ian Butterworth (1981)

Professor Ian Butterworth CBE FRS

Ian Butterworth My life as a research scientist started in 1951 as a PhD student in Blackett’s Cosmic Ray Group in Manchester. Apart from 4 years using neutrons to study the liquid state, I have been a particle physicist, starting at Imperial College in 1958. For more than 20 years, the leading experimental technique was the analysis of tracks in a hydrogen bubble chamber, a technique which I saw come and go, for the first tracks in a little 4” diameter chamber were seen at Imperial just as I joined, and it was in 1983 that I recommended at CERN that the time had come to retire the Big European Bubble Chamber, BEBC. When the number of bubble chamber tracks to be photographed and analysed grew from thousands to 100’s of thousands it became sensible for different groups to collaborate; one of the first collaborations was our so-called Anglo-German Collaboration. I was concentrating on the spectroscopy of particles feeling the ‘strong’ force, the hadrons, and particularly those called mesons that had integral spins. By the late 60’s I was moving to those with half-integral spin, the baryons. These studies were building up our understanding of the quark structure of matter. Later, to reduce the number of photographs to be analysed, we started to attach electronic detectors to the bubble chamber, as in the European Hybrid System at CERN. It was, of course, a hint that the future lay in purely electronic detectors to be used at the next accelerator systems like LEP, the Large Electron Positron Collider. However, still using the bubble chamber I had moved from hadrons to the weakly interacting neutrinos, not now with 100,000 events but just a few, even in the enormous BEBC. Even so, the long life of the bubble chamber technique was coming to an end. And, my own personal research activity was temporarily coming to an end as I was invited to join the CERN Management as Research Director as we started preparing the experiments with LEP. I subsequently became Principal of Queen Mary College, no longer close to research, but in 1991 I returned as a Senior Research Fellow at Imperial using the HERA electron-proton collider and the ZEUS electronic detector to use its intense beams to understand the structure of the proton in ways similar to our neutrino studies of ten years before. Ian Butterworth

Walter Welford (1980)

Walter Thompson Welford (Walter Weinstein until 1957), born in London, left Hackney Technical Institute at the age of 16 years to become a technician at the London Hospital and later at Oxford University Biochemistry Department. In 1942, after obtaining a first-class honours external degree in mathematics from London University by private study, he returned to London to work at Adam Hilger Ltd. He moved to Imperial College, London, as a research assistant in 1947, became a lecturer in 1951, a senior lecturer in 1959, Reader in 1964 and Professor of Physics in 1973. He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1980. After formal retirement in 1983 he continued to be research active at Imperial College and the University of Chicago until his death from throat cancer in 1990. 

Walter’s scientific work was in the craft of optical instrumentation, in which he became an internationally recognized master. His contributions ranged from basic aberration theory to the design, construction and testing of a vast range of optical instrumentation. His research fields were principally lens aberrations, optical microscopy, bubble chamber optics, laser speckle, non-imaging optics, diffraction gratings and diffractive lenses. Many will also remember him as a kindly and inspiring educator.

Sir Tom Kibble (1980)

An eminent theoretical physicist,  Sir Tom Kibble is best known for work in the '60s leading to the concept of a mass-giving particle now called a Higgs boson. Kibble

Thomas Walter Bannerman (Tom) Kibble was born in 1932 in Madras, India. He attended school in Edinburgh and graduated from the University of Edinburgh (MA 1955, BSc 1956, PhD 1958), and joined the Department of Physics at Imperial as a Nato Fellow in 1959.

In 1964, Professor Kibble wrote "Global conservation laws and massless particles" in collaboration with two American scientists - National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow Gerald Guralnik, and Richard Hagen from the University of Rochester, New York.

This work, along with a 1967 paper written by Kibble alone, led to the concept of a mass-giving particle now known as the Higgs boson, and proved a key feature of the standard model of particle physics. For some time he was a member of the research group led by the late Professor Abdus Salam, who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg.

In 1970 Kibble became Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial, and held the position of head of the Department of Physics from 1983 to 1991.

In 1980, aged just 48, Kibble was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, a prestigious honour bestowed by the UK's national scientific academy, where he would later serve as Vice-President from 1988-89. In 1998 he received the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours, in recognition of his services to Physics.

In June 2008 Professor Kibble's seminal research paper was selected as one of the most important papers of the last 50 years by the leading journal Physical Review Letters. This paper is considered one of the theoretical works that has shaped particle physics through the 20th Century.

In 2009 Professor Kibble was jointly awarded the 2010 J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics – one of the most prestigious international prizes in physics - along with the five other leading scientists credited with the Higgs theory.

Professor Kibble was granted Fellowship of Imperial College at a ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall in 2009. In 2012 the Royal Society awarded Professor Kibble the Royal Medal, one of its premier awards that are only awarded to three scientists each year.

Professor Kibble, who is very much still active at Imperial, recently celebrated his 80th birthday, which was marked by the College on 13 March 2013 with a symposium day, then evening public lecture with Professor Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate for work on the interactions of fundamental forces, is Kibble's friend and one-time Colleague at Imperial.

During 2013, Professor Kibble became one of four new honorary fellows of the Institute of Physics, and received the Dirac Medal - named after Paul Dirac, 'one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century' - which is given to scientists who have made significant contributions to theoretical physics.

He currently holds the position of Emeritus Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, with continuing research interests in quantum field theory, especially the interface between high-energy particle physics and cosmology.

A full biography can be found at the Academia Europaea website.

Harry Elliot (1973)

Harry Elliot began working in Manchester with Patrick Blackett on cosmic rays. He studied their nature and origin, and moved with Blackett to Imperial in 1953. There he established one of the UK's leading centres for cosmic ray research. Harry became one of the founders of Britain's and Europe's participation in the scientific exploration of space. His legacy includes the many space missions in which he played a critical role, commencing with ESRO in 1968. Under his leadership, the group at Imperial diversified into the broad range of scientific topics now covered by them and by his former students presently working in science across the world. The symposium included talks by UK and international colleagues, incorporating reminiscences while tracking Harry's path. Harry was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1973.

Contributors included:

  • Professor David Southwood, ESA Headquarters
  • Professor Roger Bonnet, International Space Science Institute, Bern
  • Professor Alan Watson, University of Leeds
  • Professor John Quenby, Imperial College Londo
  • Professor Andre Balogh, Imperial College Londonn
  • Dr. Richard Marsden, ESA ESTEC
  • Dr. Harry Atkinson, formerly SRC/SERC, UK and former chair of ESA


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David Blow (1972)

David Blow joined Imperial as Professor of Biophysics in 1977, a position he retained until his retirement in 1994. He was also Head of Physics (1991-1994) and Dean of the RCS (1981-1984). He was educated at Cambridge and was a research student under Max Perutz at the Cavendish Laboratory.

Blow was a pioneer of protein crystallography, a method which over the last 40 years has been used to determine the atomic structure of thousands of proteins, most of them important in biology or medicine. Blow made key contributions to the theory and practice of protein crystallography. He also pioneered computer methods for molecular biology.

Blow collaborated with Brian Hartley in research on the digestive enzyme chymotrypsin. Blow led the team that determined its structure in 1967, only the third or the fourth protein structure to be known. At Imperial, Blow continued his earlier ground-breaking work, mainly on the structure and mechanisms of action of enzymes.

Dan Bradley (1976)

Dan Bradley was an early pioneer and world leader in laser physics who was best known for his work on the development of ultra-fast pulsed lasers and high-efficiency dye lasers. Bradley produced pulses of laser light as short as one-millionth of one-millionth of a second (a picosecond), and he played a key role in the development of techniques to measure these short pulses, in particular using a device known as a streak camera.

Daniel Joseph Bradley was born on in 1928 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He was educated at St Columb’s College, Londonderry, and St Mary’s Training College, Belfast, qualifying as a teacher in 1947. He taught for several years in a primary school in Londonderry. At the same time, he enrolled at the University of London to study for an external B.Sc. degree in mathematics, which he received in 1953. He then taught mathematics in a grammar school in London from 1953 to 1957. While doing so he took evening courses in Birkbeck College, University of London.  In 1957, he was awarded a B.Sc. in physics, achieving the highest marks in his final examinations in the whole university.

In 1957, having finally decided on a career in physics, he moved to Royal Holloway College, where he took his Ph.D. in 1961. Bradley’s academic career in physics began a bit later than usual but his progress after 1961 was unusually rapid. In 1960, he was appointed lecturer in physics at Imperial College, London. In 1964, he was appointed a reader in physics at Holloway College. In 1966, he was appointed professor of pure and applied physics at Queen’s University, Belfast.
At Queen’s University he rapidly established a large laser research group that achieved an international reputation. In 1973, he returned to Imperial College as professor of optics and again established a world-renowned research group.

Between 1976 and 1980, Bradley served as head of the physics department at Imperial College. He also helped establish the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, Oxfordshire.

In 1980, he returned to Ireland to become professor of optical electronics at Trinity College, Dublin. He established a thriving research group at Trinity, his third.

In 1984, he suffered a serious stroke that forced him to retire prematurely, although he continued to participate in the academic life of Trinity College and to travel extensively. He was made Emeritus Professor by London University and by Trinity College, Dublin.

Bradley published more than 200 scientific papers in scholarly journals during his career. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Royal Society’s Royal Medal (1983), the Institute of Physics’ Thomas Young Medal (1975), OSA’s Charles Hard Townes Award (1989), and the Royal Irish Academy’s Cunningham Medal (2001). He was elected an OSA Fellow in 1975, and he was also a Fellow of the Royal Society (1976), a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (1969), and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (1959). He received honorary doctorates from the New University of Ulster (1983) and Queen’s University Belfast (1986).

Charles Gorrie Wynne (1970)

Charles Gorrie Wynne Charles Gorrie Wynne joined Taylor, Taylor and Hobson in Leicester in 1935 as a lens designer after completing his degree at Exeter College, Oxford where as a student, he had contracted tuberculosis. The early personal experience of dimly lit phosphor X-ray screens shaped some of his later research in medical applications for lens design. At TT&H he worked on the optimisation of lens designs using ‘computers’, a system of mechanical calculators and trigonometrical tables. In 1943 he moved to S.E London where he worked for Wray optical works designing and making lenses for the RAF which were used for Photographic Reconnaissance and air survey. This included a wide angled aerial survey lens. After the war Wynne designed lenses for the Wrayex camera which was the only British made full-eld-of-view 35mm single lens reex camera ever made. He became technical director of Wray optical works on the 1950s. During that period he also designed an amazing lens with a relative aperture of f / 0.71 for use in mobile X ray equipment which was used in mass radiography programmes necessary for the eradication of tuberculosis. Lens system designs for astronomical optics became a major application of his research and he started with a system that doubled the field of view of the 200in. Mount Palomar telescope. He continued to work within that eld and was known for eld widening optics for large telescopes as well as spectrographs and atmospheric dispersion correctors. In 1959 Wynne was invited by Patrick Blackett to join the newly established ‘Technical Optics Section’ as director at Imperial College. He was appointed professor in 1969 and not only taught optical design but developped and designed lens systems for experimental bubble chamber physics. He initiated the ‘Optical Designers’ Club which invited industrial lens designers to make presentations to their academic counterparts. The Club met three to four times annually. He set up an optics section at the Indian Institute of Technology in Dehli and created successful links between scientists in China and British Observatories in 1977. Wynne retired from Imperial College in 1978 leaving behind his able colleagues Prudence Wormell and Michael Kidger to continue in his footsteps. After 1978, he worked fulltime for the Royal Greenwich Observatory on telescope design moving on after seven years to the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. Professor Wynne served as honorary secretary of the Institute of Physics from 1947 to 1966, he also edited the journal, Optica Acta from 1954 to 1965. In 1970 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and received many honours including the Conrady medal of the International Society for Optical Engineering.

W.R.S Garton (1969)

Garton W.R.S. Garton F.R.S.
Professor of Spectroscopy at Imperial College London


The career of William Reginald Stephen Garton, who died on the 28th of August 2002, aged 90, spanned a long and fascinating period in the history of Physics, which saw the birth of Quantum Mechanics and the confirmation of the Theory of Relativity.

W.R.S. Garton, known affectionately as Reg to his friends and colleagues, was born in Chelsea on the 7th of March 1912 and was very much a Londoner in spirit and upbringing. His early childhood memories were marked by the Great War and by the depression of the 1930’s. Through his own efforts and self reliance, he rose to become one of the most prominent atomic physicists of his generation, and his international reputation extended to Europe and especially to the United States of America, where he performed a number of his most important experiments.

Reg Garton will be remembered for his extensive work on the phenomenon of autoionisation in atoms, and also for his discovery (together with Franck Tomkins in Chicago) of the quadratic Zeeman structure in atomic spectra (1). By training, Reg Garton was a classical spectroscopist, in the mould of such figures as Paschen and Shenstone (2), for whom he expressed great admiration. He is also remembered by molecular spectroscopists for his early work on bandheads and ultraviolet spectra of diatomic species. Very early in his scientific career, he became impressed with the research of H. Beutler in Berlin, to the extent that he learned German and translated Beutler’s papers into English for his own use. What interested him most was that Beutler had, for the first time, bridged the gap between the ultraviolet and the X-ray ranges of atomic spectra. This range was regarded by Reg Garton as the most interesting and most promising, and he made it his own quest to continue and to complete Beutler’s pioneering work.

In retrospect, it is very surprising that Reg Garton was able to acquire all the skills of an atomic physicist. Education did not come to him in an easy or natural way, for his background was not a wealthy one. He lost his father while still a young child, and this experience made him very self-reliant. He was probably not really inspired by attending school, which he left at the age of sixteen, as was common in those times, but rather by simple experiments in chemistry he could perform with materials which were easily purchased in the shops in those days, and which he continued to refer to with much fondness in later life as an essential part of his awakening to science.

Although schooling made little impression, memories of his childhood persisted in later life. Reg hated bureaucracy and saw the concept of an absolutely safe workplace as very likely to interfere with the progress of scientific research. When told that white phosphorus is a dangerous substance to store in a laboratory, he laughed heartily, and remarked that he was accustomed to buy some for a shilling as a child to make his own fireworks.

At sixteen, he took up his first job at the N.C.R. or National Cash Register, whose business was making the mechanical tills used in shops before the age of electronic machines. He did not like the job, and often joked about what he was required to do, which included singing the company song on regular occasions. He found the machines quite useless, designed to impress customers by flashing up prices and ringing a bell rather than by performing any real task. If anything, this experience merely confirmed him in the desire to study science seriously.

His interest in science led him to attend some public lectures at the Royal Institution, where he was uncharacteristically quiet and sat in the back row, as he did not have the appropriate top hat and tails worn by those who sat in front. He remembered being present when a small quantity of liquid helium was shown to the public, having been flown in that very morning from the Netherlands – the first ever in the UK. He had been reassured to see a person dressed in rather less formal clothes sitting in one of the front rows. It turned out during the proceedings that this person was the pilot who had flown the aeroplane.

To better his prospects, Reg Garton enrolled for evening classes at the Chesea Polytechnic, soon obtained his matriculation, winning an LCC scholarship in 1933. He graduated from Imperial College with a first class degree in Physics in 1936, a remarkable achievement considering his background. Though never claiming to be a theorist, Reg always worked things out for himself, and his ability to do so developed from his early years of study. In his mathematics textbooks, as later colleagues discovered with awe, every single exercise was worked out and the solutions neatly pencilled into the margins. A scientific qualification at IC required some acquaintance of a foreign language. As already mentioned, Reg chose German. Though he never achieved great fluency, he translated many important research papers, and copies of Reg’s translations were still in use by his students many years later.


Reg did not register for a higher degree. Apparently, this opportunity was not available to many at that time, and probably required some means: he became a Demonstrator in Physics at IC immediately after graduating and was thus a staff member already pursuing research when the war broke out. For a long time afterwards (in common with many other scientists of his generation) he was referred to as ‘Mr Garton’ in the University, (in fact, he only became ‘Dr Garton’ a long time later later, when he obtained a D. Sc. of the University of London in 1958 as a direct result of his many publications).

In principle, he might have been exempted from active service because of his profession, but he volunteered and served in the RAF, being posted as a meteorological officer in North Africa. By his own account, this was not dangerous. Meteorological officers were few in number. They were regarded as important and therefore well protected. Some idea of Reg’s attitude to the logic of warfare can be gleaned from his story of being placed in charge of a group of Italian POW’s. Before their capture, they had been building a road. When the Allies took over the sector, the road building was interrupted, and they become despondent. Reg asked them what they wanted to do. When they explained that they just wanted to finish the job, this seemed so reasonable to him that he told them to get on with it, and they went back to building the same road again.

Reg returned to Imperial College as a Lecturer immediately after the war. With his own hands, he had built a small vacuum spectrograph before 1939, inspired by the example of H. Beutler. Quite by chance, an opening at the back of this instrument fitted the lid of a tobacco tin, which had a rubber grommet. Before leaving London in 1939, Reg used this improvised cap to pump the instrument down. On his return from the war, he was surprised to find it was still under vacuum. He used to say that he had accidentally discovered the O-ring seal, but unfortunately never thought of exploiting the invention.

The situation to which he returned was not easy. A Lecturer’s pay was extremely low. The difference between his salary and that of a Head of Department was truly huge. The then Head of Department, G.P. Thompson lived in a large house near Holland Park, and had a butler. He took pity on his unfortunate young colleague, who by then had a small family and found it hard to survive in London, so he offered him temporary accommodation in the top flat of his large house. This would have been fine, had one of Reg’s daughters not decided to conduct an experiment of her own. In those days, unprotected electric plugs were the norm. She took a pair of silver sugar tongues belonging to their host, and poked both ends into exposed contacts. Miraculously, she survived, but the tongues were partially vapourised. Reg had them repaired by a silversmith in Knightsbridge, and often recalled with horror that this had cost him more than his monthly salary.


Atomic physics — Reg Garton’s lifelong pursuit — had provided the inspiration and testing ground for Quantum Mechanics, but he remained convinced that more was to be discovered. He was particularly interested in phenomena apparently absent from the spectra of ‘simple’, but present in those of ‘complex’ atoms. While Reg Garton never used such words as ‘the many-body problem’, which he probably regarded as ‘theorist’s jargon’, he was surely very much aware of the implications of the problem he addressed, and he felt that only experimental physics could lead the way in the study of many-electron systems. Indeed, this was to him the main attraction, and proving this point was his favourite challenge. He was fond of stealing a march on those he referred to as ‘the theorists’ (he regarded to word ‘theoretician’ as poor English usage).

Beutler’s work had already suggested that the distinction between ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ atoms purely on the basis of atomic number or chemical behaviour is imperfect. Apparently simple atoms (the alkalis) had been demonstrated to possess complex spectra at certain energies, when inner shells are broken into. Reg and his students took up this issue systematically, and turned up many new examples, which led Reg Garton to coin the phrase ‘complex spectra of simple atoms’ (3) to describe this area of research. They continued to explore the previously uncharted gap between optical and X-ray physics, which became the hallmark of research in atomic physics at Imperial College. This emerged as the key range of energies in which ‘simple’ many-electron atoms reveal their most interesting forms of complexity. Illuminating instances were found in barium, which soon became Reg’s favourite element. For a time, colleagues jokingly referred to him as ‘Mr. Barium’ because of his constant preoccupation with this atom. One of his daughter’s remembers asking what barium was, and being told in a rather curt rejoinder that barium would pay the school fees.

The laboratory environment in which Reg Garton worked was very different from that of a present day Physics Department. It was the heyday of classical spectroscopy, and the heart of the most sophisticated instrumentation was the ruled grating (usually a replica of a so-called ‘master’ grating) available from but a few manufacturers in the world. Apart from the secretive manufacture of these precious items, there had not yet arisen an instrumentation industry specifically aimed at research laboratories, and almost everything one needed (even, at least at the outset of Reg Garton’s career, diffusion pumps) had to be made in-house.

To cope with this situation, the researchers created their own workshops: for example, there was a fully equipped glassblowing facility at Imperial College with several highly skilled permanent staff, capable of making elaborate equipment out of both pyrex and quartz and (very importantly) of repairing such apparatus when minor damage or even explosions occurred. High voltage engineering was routinely carried out in-house, involving a great deal of inventiveness and improvisation, and not a little danger. Students from the laboratory still remember a huge transformer, originating from a wartime submarine, capable of delivering eight kilovolts at three hundred and fifty milliamps, which was located under a metal spiral staircase to keep it out of harm’s way, and was used to power both discharge tubes and open sparks. It is, in retrospect, remarkable that nobody was electrocuted, and this was certainly due to the competence of the researchers and technicians of the time.

Reg Garton had the deepest respect for the highly skilled technical staff who made the kind of apparatus he needed, shaping the jaws of optical slits to amazing precision by hand. They became lifelong friends. He referred to them as ‘the salt of the earth’ and always went out of his way to help them. As a result, in the workshops at IC, Reg was a most popular academic, and always invited to all their social occasions. This mutual respect went back to Reg’s early life. Having come up the hard way, Reg knew and understood the situation of otherwise very talented people who merely lacked some formal academic training.

In order to perform for atoms experiments of the kind Beutler had pioneered before the war in Berlin, Reg Garton needed basically three types of instrumentation. The first was the vacuum spectrograph, equipped with ruled gratings as mentioned above; the second, a set of absorption chambers, usually vacuum furnaces, capable of supporting a column of atomic gas long enough to provide a large absorption depth and reveal the fine detail required. Third, he needed sources of background radiation, which had to provide an electromagnetic continuum extending from the near ultraviolet to the soft X-ray range, and this background had to be as ‘clean’ as possible, i.e. to contain only a few well characterized emission lines.

The vacuum spectrograph was in some ways the simplest of the three to work out, as most of the information required to build one had already been published. Before the war, Reg Garton had already built a one-metre instrument (4), which was still in use in the late 1960’s, although by then its spectral resolution was considered inadequate for all but exploratory work. In the 1950’s, Reg set about designing and building a much more ambitious 3-metre vacuum spectrograph, with all the movements required for the most perfect adjustments of the Rowland circle. While this instrument was somewhat cumbersome and difficult to use, it made no compromises whatsoever with opto-mechanical principles: every movement was adjustable, and it was up to the user to focus and maintain all the parts of the optical system in the correct way. Given due attention and a fresh grating, this instrument achieved its theoretically predicted resolving power, of the order of 100 000 over much of its range).

More difficult was the issue of how far towards the soft X-rays a normal incidence vacuum spectrograph of the type developed by Reg Garton could be used. This was of course also dependent on radiation sources (discussed below) but the belief at that time at Imperial College was that this technology would not extend below 50 nanometers in wavelength. For the range from about 20 to 50 nanometers, the laboratory eventually acquired a grazing incidence instrument designed by Dr Allan Gabriel of the Culham laboratory, in the context of the Fusion Programme (Gabriel 1965).

The second type of instrumentation (provision of an atomic column of gas or vapour) was more complex and involved more experimentation, because it had to be adapted to the physical properties of the atom concerned. Permanent monatomic gases were of course easy, but not very interesting to Reg Garton: the very properties which made them unreactive placed their spectra too far towards the soft X-ray range and (more importantly) reduced the number of overlapping excitation channels. In Reg Garton’s view, such overlaps provided the kind of new phenomena he was most interested in.

In order to produce columns of atomic gas, it was sometimes necessary to dissociate molecules, using microwave discharges, or to vaporize liquids or solids, while containing the resulting vapours and gases in columns of well-defined length and pressure. An added complication was that, according to the wavelength range, there might exist or not exist suitably transparent materials to make windows for containment of the absorbing column. Even if such windows could be found, they were usually only suitable for a limited range of wavelengths, and had to be kept clean by using suitably transparent ‘buffer gases’ to separate them from the sample. Finally, there was the problem of handling some aggressive molten samples, whose chemical properties at high temperature are very different from those of the corresponding solid, as any person who has tried to contain liquid nickel, for example, is well aware. Reg Garton’s avowed ambition was to ‘take on’ any element of the Periodic Table. Although this aim was never achieved, he certainly made more impact on the difficulties than any other spectroscopist of his day: for example, he recorded an absorption spectrum by vaporizing radium metal, an achievement which, even today, poses a real experimental challenge.

In order to tackle a wide range of elements, a wide range of techniques was necessary. Under Reg Garton’s guidance, the researchers at Imperial College developed many types of absorption tubes and vacuum furnaces, ranging from simple wire-wound devices (including bifilar windings and clamshell furnaces) to directly heated King furnaces with hollow carbon tubes and inductively heated furnaces with external water-cooled copper coils to provide the power, alumina of quartz walls, and seamless molybdenum or tantalum inserts in the body of the furnace, suspended on zirconia supports (Connerade 1978). The latter technology was of course the most advanced, but also the most difficult to load and assemble, because it required several layers of heat shielding, made from cylinders with staggered slits, surrounding a central seamless tube, all isolated from each other by zirconia or alumina rings. The whole assembly was then slipped inside the vacuum chamber and pumped out: the beauty of the inductively heated system was the degree of control which could be achieved. In a matter of a minute or so, the inner furnace could be heated to well above two thousand degrees centigrade once several kilowatts of RF power were applied to the coil, and the temperature could be adjusted well enough to degas the samples thoroughly before vaporizing them – an essential precaution to obtain ‘clean’ spectra. Indeed, freedom from what Reg Garton would often refer to as ‘molecular muck’ was for him almost an obsession: Reg Garton could immediately detect when procedures had not been correctly followed through simply by looking at the spectra, because he knew by experience which were the molecular bands which persist most, and he was merciless in making students repeat the work until they had been completely eliminated.

It should be said that this remark in no way implied any disrespect for molecular studies: indeed, he published several papers on his observations of the ultraviolet spectra of diatomics (5) (homonuclear, hydrides and halides, mostly of heavy elements) and the late Bill Price FRS of King’s College London (one of Reg’s dear friends) was a frequent visitor at week-ends in Reg Garton’s lab, where he and his students borrowed Reg’s own apparatus to continue and extend the optical spectroscopy of molecules.

The third type of instrumentation which was developed at Imperial College under his leadership was an array of light sources, providing electromagnetic continuum over a wide spectral range. At that time, synchrotron radiation sources were not available, and so many different types of source were required in order to cover the spectrum from the ultraviolet to the soft X-ray range. These sources were of two types, discharge tubes (which ran quasi-continuously) and flash lamps (which were fired shot by shot). The discharge tubes which were most used at Imperial College included the Hydrogen (6) and the Helium discharge tubes. The helium tube, invented by Hopfield (Hopfield 1930) and much used by Beutler (Beutler 1933), was the most difficult to operate, because it required extremely careful purification of the gas in order to observe the molecular recombination continuum at high intensity in the range from 60 to 90 nanometers, and the slightest contamination of the helium by (for example) some vapour of the sample under investigation was sufficient to ‘quench’ or ‘kill’ the discharge. This was a very real difficulty, because no windows are available in this wavelength range, and so the technique consisted in observing and optimising the helium molecular bands from the discharge with a direct vision spectroscope, then recording the spectrum in the vacuum ultraviolet, and immediately ceasing the exposure if the helium molecular bands disappeared from view.

Amongst the flash tubes which were used, two deserve special mention. One is the ‘Garton Flash Tube’ (7, 8), a small and compact plasma source, obtained by discharging a low inductance, high voltage capacitor into a specially designed tube, which produced a bremstrahlung continuum from the hot plasma down to about 100 nanometers, and the other, the Balloffet-Romand-Vodar or ‘BRV’ continuum source (Romand Balloffet and Vodar 1956), based on a similar principle, but making used of a sliding spark on a uranium pin, which allowed continuum to be produced at wavelengths shorter than 60 nanometers, where the helium discharge produced no suitable radiation. The BRV source was well suited to grazing incidence instrumentation.

Reg Garton had a keen eye for opportunities of all kinds, and was not averse to becoming involved in commercial ventures. He was a co- founder of the Chelsea Instrument Company, which at the time marketed instrumentation developed at Imperial College, amongst which, of course, the Garton Flash Tube had pride of place.

All these small scale laboratory sources have of course been superseded by synchrotron radiation (see below) but, in addition to their portability, they do possess an interesting property for specialists: the discrete lines which occur embedded in the continuum act as internal wavelength standards which illuminate the optical instruments under the same solid angle as the continuum itself, which leads to a reliable superposition.

The combination of techniques put together at Imperial College placed Reg Garton’s research group in a very strong position and soon bore fruit.

A key issue at that time was the study of atomic lines which had been noted by Beutler as possessing an anomalously large width. This property attracted the interest of Fermi, who gave the problem to one of his students, Ugo Fano, to work on. Although Fano wrote an early paper about the effect (Fano 1935), it was only in 1961 (Fano 1961) that he published his classic formula for the profile of an autoionising line, which is why atomic physicists refer to such features as ‘Beutler-Fano resonances’. It should also be added that such resonances are in fact the analogue of Breit-Wigner resonances in Nuclear Physics (Breit and Wigner 1936), as Fermi himself had surely recognised. The name ‘autoionisation’ was apparently coined by Shenstone, as Reg Garton himself recalled.

Although autoionisation was in the process of being explained, it was necessary to find good experimental examples of the effect, and in particular: to demonstrate that all the different situations predicted by Fano’s formula could indeed be found in nature. The analytic formula proposed by Fano (1961) for the profile of an isolated autoionising resonance reads σ(ε) = D2 (+ ε)2 /(1 + ε2) where ε = 2(E-E0) / Γ, (E-E0) is the detuning from the resonance energy E0, Γ is the width of the resonance, D2 is a constant and is the so called Fano shape index, which determines the degree of asymmetry of the resonance. When applying this formula for direct parametrisation of experimental data, the quantities Γ and (width and shape) were treated as the two basic parameters. The quantity Γ was pretty straightforward, yielding the width or lifetime of the resonance, but the quantity which controls the asymmetry of the resonance, was felt to be more unusual, and characteristic of autoionisation. Since an infinite range of possibilities seemed to exist, experimenters were interested in searching for examples which would illustrate all the possibilities covered by the formula.

Thus it was that Reg Garton’s approach of studying many different elements under very different conditions and observing a wide range of spectra at different excitation energies for as many atoms as possible came into its own. He was able to find just about every type of resonance in his spectra, including the highly asymmetric lines with a relatively sharp resonance ‘edge’ and the ‘window resonances’ which at the time were thought to be the most unusual and unexpected. He even found cases of two overlapping resonances in which one serves, so to speak, as the autoionisation continuum of the other. Probably the most interesting and revealing example of autoionisation was found in the spectrum of barium by Reg Garton and his student Keith Codling (8), who discovered a huge autoionising resonance (5d8p 1P1) straddling the limit of the Principal Series, with one half of the resonance (the absorption peak) lying in the photoionisation continuum and the transmission ‘window’ appearing as a spectacular perturbation of the high series members. This remarkable example illustrates experimentally not only the principles of the configuration mixing used by Fano to account for autoionisation, but also the continuity between the uppermost members of a Rydberg series and the adjoining continuum which forms the basis of the quantum defect theory developed by Mike Seaton FRS of University College also around that time (Seaton 1966).

By the mid-sixties, the scientific work of Reg Garton and his students at Imperial College had attracted international attention. He was invited to many conferences, became a guest scientist in other laboratories and embarked on a productive series of investigations in North America, in particular in Harvard (he became an Associate of Harvard College Observatory in 1966), at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, and in York University, Toronto, forming a network of contacts he referred to affectionately as ‘the club’. His ready wit and repartee were highly appreciated in America, as was a certain sense of decorum and etiquette. Amongst the honours bestowed on him at or after that time were the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1969, an Honorary DSc. from York University in 1972, the Optical Society of America's W.F. Meggers Award in 1976 and the Honorary Fellowship of Imperial College in 1983.

Reg’s presence would bring scientific conferences to life, because of his special touch, and his original way of expressing things. At a meeting at Harvard, when Reg rose to speak, a distinguished American academic leaned over to his students and whispered: ‘Listen to this now: here comes the real personality piece’.

To many colleagues and students, what made Reg’s scientific input unique, has less to do with particular discoveries than with an attitude towards research. Reg did not believe in retracing other people’s footsteps. His quest was for the unknown. The most exciting thing, he often said, is to see something you are sure nobody else has ever seen before. He never understood why anybody should want to repeat an experiment done previously elsewhere, and would always suggest to a young scientist wishing to embark on such a check that he would be better employed working on something new. His approach encouraged a definite spirit amongst students and co-workers, and his style was well known in the field. Duplicating experiments might be good for science, but was simply not Reg Garton’s way.

Taking a calculated leap into the unknown is a dangerous business. It requires flair, just as much as rational preparation. Not all Reg Garton’s experiments were successful, but all of them were sure to attract attention if they worked, and all of them addressed real and unresolved issues.

It was undoubtedly his flair for novelty which led Reg Garton to perform his most famous experiment, the one most probably he will be remembered for, uncovering an effect known as ‘quantum chaos’ for atoms in strong magnetic fields. This discovery, which opened up a new area of research, came as a complete surprise. Nobody had predicted anything like it. Somehow, Reg just sensed where to look. Such intuition was his mark as an experimental physicist.

Occasionally, Reg had short patience with theory. When asked about his work with high magnetic fields, he once remarked: ‘At first, the theorists found it surprising, because they hadn’t predicted it, but then they got used to the fact that it’s there, so now they don’t think it’s new any more’.

His discovery of the quadratic Zeeman effect or, as Reg Garton once termed it ‘universal diamagnetism’ stands as the last of the great experiments performed by classical spectroscopy, and possibly the most important investigation of atomic magnetism since the work of Zeeman himself, performed in the early 1900’s. Reg Garton used the opportunity that a Paschen Circle of large size had been constructed and installed at the Argonne Laboratory in Chicago by his collaborator and friend Franck Tomkins. He decided that this provided a unique opportunity to investigate in more detail the quadratic Zeeman shift in very high series members of Rydberg spectra originally uncovered by Emilio Segrè and one of his students. Reg Garton felt sure that more was to be seen, and managed to obtain funds to build a superconducting solenoid especially for that purposed. The experiment was an ambitious one: it required a high temperature furnace to be inserted down the warm bore of the liquid helium-cooled superconducting magnet in order to record atomic absorption spectra on the background of a continuum source. It was also important to record the ‘cleanest’ possible spectra, i.e. the simplest possible structures. To this end, Reg Garton used polarising optics (a Babinet compensator) to circularly polarise the beam and record only one component of the Lorentz doublet for each of the series members of a singlet spectrum. As luck would have it, Barium has a singlet excitation spectrum, and so it was (once again) with his favourite element that Reg Garton tackled the problem and made his most important discovery.

The choice of barium was not purely a matter of taste, however. Barium is unique in exhibiting a remarkable perturbation in the Principal Series: because of this interaction, oscillator strength is gathered into the uppermost members, and Garton and Tomkins had already found that the series could be following to n = 115 by classical spectroscopy (10). It was, therefore, the most favourable atom to extend the work of Jenkins and Segrè.

What followed is described in detail in one of the most celebrated papers of atomic physics, published by Garton and Tomkins in 1969 in the Astrophysical Journal (1), and therefore need not be repeated here. In Figure 1, the essential result is displayed, with a brief description in the caption of the different regions of the observed spectrum.

Figure 1
Fig.1 – The Quadratic Zeeman Structures in the spectrum of BaI as observed for different magnetic field strengths (indicated in Tesla up the left hand side of the figure) close to and above principal quantum number 32 (after Garton and Tomkins 1969).

Suffice it to say that the discovery of the quasi-Landau structures (as they came to be termed) was soon hailed as a major advance in the subject and became to focus of interest in the leading laboratories, both in Europe and in the USA. While Reg Garton, characteristically, took no part in the theoretical developments surrounding ‘quantum chaology’, he was well aware of the issues involved and continued a systematic series of investigations of the quadratic Zeeman effect in a variety of different elements in order to establish more clearly the influence of atomic species on the splittings observed. These investigations stand today as the most thorough and complete ever performed by classical spectroscopy, and have served as ‘maps’ to guide later investigations.

In later years, the flash tube and discharge sources used at Imperial College were rendered obsolete by the development of synchrotron radiation sources. Reg was quick to recognize this, and encouraged his former students to set up facilities in other laboratories. A special connection was built up in the laboratory of Wolfgang Paul, at the Physikalisches Institut of the Friedrich Wilhelms Universität in the city of Bonn, where the Imperial College Group set up a laboratory and transferred much of the instrumentation (furnaces and spectrographs), which had been developed originally for in-house experiments. Interestingly, the short wavelength limit of the normal incidence three metre spectrograph designed at Imperial College was found to be a good deal more favourable than had been thought from observations with the ‘BRV’ source (see above): there was no difficulty in extending the range well below twenty nanometers, although, of course, spectral resolution then begins to fall off.

The move to the University of Bonn changed the habits of atomic physicists, who discovered a new mode of operation, known to accelerator physicists as ‘parasitic’. It remained true, however, that the basic training provided to students in the laboratories in South Kensington was essential for the success of their experiments in the more complex environment of the large electron accelerators.

It is perhaps important to mention here the limitations of classical spectroscopy as practised by Reg Garton, which he would have been the first to accept, as he was constantly striving to improve experimental techniques. The first of these is set by the absorption method itself: to observe the depletion of a beam of radiation is to accept that the signal to noise ratio is bound to be unfavourable: the count rate is highest when the signal is lowest, and lowest when the signal is maximum. For this reason, it is much better to detect photo-ions or photo-electrons, which is why thermionic diode detection, photo-ion and photo-electron spectroscopy were developed. The second actually follows from this remark: a continuum source is excellent for exploratory surveys of large portions of the spectrum, but eventually becomes unsuitable for very high resolution studies of the type Reg Garton wished to pursue: grating spectroscopy at the highest dispersion runs out of photons, and it is much more efficient to use a light source which generates all the photons at the wavelength one wishes to use, i.e. a laser. This leads one to a third point, which is that the combination of a laser with an atomic beam avoids all the non- linearities of detection associated with optical depth in absorption spectroscopy. For all of these reasons, the techniques of classical absorption spectroscopy have mostly been abandoned in favour of laser- based experiments on atomic beams with photo-ion or photo-electron detection. This being said, there are problems in making atomic beams from certain types of sample, and it remains true, when performing very high resolution measurements with a tuneable laser, that the best guide is a previously recorded ‘Garton-style’ absorption spectrum.

Today, experiments on unresolved aspects of ‘quantum chaos’ continue, although the techniques have changed. They now, in line with the previous remarks, mainly involve high-resolution lasers and atomic beams. Reg himself was conscious of the need to move forward in this direction, and, indeed, performed one of the first laser-based experiments involving high magnetic fields, but his real forte always remained the grating spectrograph, and his name will live amongst those of the masters of that type of instrumentation alongside others well-known to atomic physicists, such as Zeeman, Paschen Shenstone and Beutler, whose names have already several times been mentioned. In particular, Reg Garton kept by him a photograph of the German physicist H. Beutler, as well as Beutler’s ash tray, given to him in the USA. Beutler had fled to North America just before the war and died there under mysterious circumstances. Both of these items which he had treasured were left to the author by Reg Garton.

Reg Garton was married twice. His first marriage saw the birth of four daughters, but did not survive the combined pressure of his intense activity as a scientist and of a rather prolonged bout of ill-health of his wife Wendy. With his second wife Barbara, who was for a time the Librarian of the Physics Department at Imperial College, he formed an extensive network of friends and colleagues from many parts of the world, and gave many receptions and parties at number one Broomhouse Road London SW6, which became a hub of social and scientific activity. Indeed, Reg was fond of combining his research plans and involvement in university matters with social occasions, and never missed a good opportunity to do so. His research group was particularly noted for that, which made him understandably popular as a supervisor.

Shortly before retirement, Reg and his second wife Barbara sold their house in Fulham and acquired Chart House, a country mansion with a Queen Anne staircase and fine grounds in the village of Great Chart in Kent. There, they continued to host parties on a lavish scale and led an active social life which is fondly remembered by their many friends.

In later life, Reg was much affected by the death of his second wife Barbara. During this period, he was very grateful to two of his close friends from Germany (Professor Klaus Dietz and Mrs Hannelore Dietz) who provided both comfort and practical support over many months. When his own health declined, he eventually moved to Scotland and lived with his daughter Rosalind and her husband Richard, who cared for him until the last, and were adamant he should not end his life away from his own family.

Reg is survived by his first wife Wendy, and by their four daughters Helen, Elizabeth, Kathryn and Rosalind.


Jean-Patrick Connerade

Former Lockyer Professor of Physics
Emeritus Professor of Atomic and Molecular Physics
Imperial College London
Honorary Professor of Physics
East China University of Shanghai
Lifetime Visiting Professor
WIPM Chinese Academy of Sciences


Short Bibliography

Beutler H. General Paper 1933 Zeit für Phys 86, 495

Breit, G. and Wigner, E. 1936 Phys. Rev. 49, 519

Connerade J.-P. 1978 Vapour containment techniques for synchrotron radiation spectroscopy. Nuclear Instruments and Methods 152, 271-278

Connerade JP 1998 Highly Excited Atoms Cambridge University Press

Fano U. 1935 Nuovo Cimento 12, 156, 5

Fano U. 1961 Spectral line shapes of autoionizing Rydberg series of xenon Phys. Rev. 124, 1866

Gabriel A.H. 1965 A two-metre grazing-incidence spectrometer for use in the range 5-950 Å. J. Sci. Instrum. 42, 94-97

Hopfield J.J . Helium Continuum Source Phys. Rev. 36, 789

Romand J. Balloffet M. and Vodar B. 1956 L'étincelle glissante dans le vide comme source pour l'analyse spectrochimique d'émission. Spectrochimica Acta 11, 268-274

Seaton M.J. 1966 Quantum defect theory. I. General formulation Proc. Phys. Soc. London 88, 801–814


(1) 1969 (With F. S. Tomkins) Diamagnetic Zeeman effect and magnetic configuration mixing in long spectral series of Ba I. Astrophys. J. 158, 839

(2) 1981 Allen Goodrich Shenstone 1893-1980 Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society 27, 505-523

(3) 1988 (With J.-P. Connerade) Some Complex Spectra of Simple Atoms. J. Opt. Soc. Amer. 5, 2119

(4) 1939 A vacuum Grating Spectrograph Mounting J. Sci. Instrum 16, 117 (5) 1950 (with Feast, M. W.) Nature, 165, 281

(6) 1939 A Heavy-current Hydrogen Discharge-tube Proc. Phys. Soc. 51, 551

(7) 1953 A Demountable Flash_discharge Tube for Production of the Lyman Continuum. J. Sci. Instrum. 30, 119

(8) 1959 Improved Lyman-continuum Source of Large Aperture. J. Sci. Instrum. 36, 11

(9) 1961 (With K. Codling) The absorption Spectra of the Alkaline-earth Metal Vapours. Mémoires Soc. Roy. Liège 5th Series 4, 193

(10) 1969 (With F.S. Tomkins) BaI Absorption Line Series at High Resolution. Astrophys. J. 158, 1219


Full bibliography

1938 Spectroscopic Methods of Chemical Analysis Rep. Prog. Phys. 4, 295

1939 A Vacuum Grating Spectrograph Mounting J. Sci. Instrum. 16, 117

A Heavy-current Hydrogen Discharge-tube Proc. Phys. Soc. 51, 551

1940 The Preparation and Properties of Photoconducting Alkali Crystals and their use as Spectral Filters Proc. Phys. Soc52, 559

1950 New absorption Lines in the Arc Spectrum of Aluminium Nature 165, 322

Absorption Spectrum of Indium Vapour in the Schumann Region Nature 166, 150

Arc Spectrum of Gallium, new absorption lines in the Schumann Region Nature 166, 317

Absorption Spectrum of Tin Vapour in the Schumann Region Nature 166, 690

(with M.W. Feast) Schumann-Runge Absorption Bands in heated Oxygen Nature 165, 281

1951 Emission Band of the Cd2 Molecule at λ 2212 Proc. Phys. Soc. A64, 430

Extension of Line Series in the Arc Spectrum of Indium : Ultraviolet

Absorption Bands probably due to InH and GaH Proc. Phys. Soc. A64, 509

Ultraviolet Absorption Spectra of Tin Vapour in Atmospheres of Helium and Hydrogen Proc. Phys. Soc. A64, 591

1952 Investigation of Atomic and Molecular Absorption Spectra I – General Features, II – Schumann Region Absorption Spectrum of Gallium Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. A65, 268

Schumann Region Absorption Spectrum of Copper Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. A65, 461

1953 Observation of the 4050วบ Band Group in a King Furnace Proc. Phys. Soc. A66, 848

A demountable Flash-discharge Tube for Production of the Lyman Continuum J. Sci. Instrum30 119

Investigations of Atomic and Molecular Absorption Spectra III – Ultraviolet Absorption Spectra of Indium Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. A67, 864 

(with R.F. Barrow and G. Drummond) Ultraviolet Bands Associated with Germanium Proc. Phys. Soc. A66, 191-192

(with H.P. Broida) Use of a Vacuum Spectrograph for Combustion Study Fuel 32, 519

1954 Vacuum Ultraviolet Absorption Spectra and Autoionisation Processes Kungl. Fisiog. Galls. Hand. 65, 99

(with L.F.H. Bovey) The Absorption Spectrum of Lutetium Proc. Phys. Soc. A67, 291

(with L.F.H. Bovey) The Absorption Spectrum of Thulium Proc. Phys. Soc. A67 476

(with L.F.H. Bovey) Atomic Line Spectra Nature 174, 729

1955 (with A. Rajaratnam) On the levels of the p2 configuration in the Arc Spectra of Zn, Cd and Hg Proc. Phys. Soc. A68, 1107

1956 Observations of Absorption Line Spectra relevant to Plasma Processes Physikalische Verhand. 7, 72

1957 (with R. Latham) Ionisation Phenomena in Gases Nature 180, 790

(with A. Rajaratnam) Flash Absorption Spectra of the Plasmas of Arcs and other Discharges Proc. Phys. Soc. A70, 815

(with M.S.W. Webb and P.C. Wildy) The Application of Ultraviolet Techniques to the continuous Monitoring of trace concentrations of Water in several Gases J. Sci. Instrum 34, 496 

1959 Improved Lyman Continuum Source of Large Aperture J. Sci. Instrum. 36, 11 (with F.J.P. Clarke) Grating Spectrophotometer for the Schumann Ultraviolet Range J. Sci. Instrum. 36, 403

1960 (with K. Codling) Ultraviolet Extension of the Arc Spectrum of the Alkaline- Earths: the Absorption Spectrum of Barium Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. 75, 87

(with A. Pery-Thorne) Absorption of Krypton in the Extreme Ultraviolet Proc. Phys. Soc. 76, 833

1961 (with K. Codling) Extension of Series in the First Spectrum of Indium Proc. Phys. Soc. 78, 600

1962 Atomic Absorption Spectra and Configuration Interaction Effects J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 2, 335-341

(with W.H. Parkinson and E.M. Reeves) Absorption Spectrum of Shock-excited barium Proc. Phys. Soc80, 860

1963 (with W.H. Parkinson and E.M. Reeves) Shock-tube Determination of Autoionisa- tion Lifetime and Oscillator Strength of the 3s23p 2P0 – 3s3p2 2S1/2 Doublet of AlI Astrophys. J. 140, 1269-1279

1965 (with K. Codling) Ultraviolet Extension of the Arc Spectra of the Alkaline-Earths: the Absorption Spectrum of Calcium Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. 86 1067

(with E.M. Reeves and A. Bass) Extended Series in the Ultraviolet Spectrum of Thallium Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. 86, 1077

1966 (with M. Wilson) Schumann Region Absorption Spectrum of Lead Vapour Proc. Phys. Soc. 87, 841

(with W.H. Parkinson and E.M. Reeves) On the sp2 Configuration and Configura- tion Mixing in the First Spectra of Indium and Thallium Can. J. Phys. 44, 1745

(with W.H. Parkinson and E.M. Reeves) Line Reversal Measurements of Excitation and Electron Temperature in a Shock-tube Proc. Phys. Soc. 88, 771

(with M. Wilson) Autoionisation broadened Rydberg Series in the Spectrum of LaI Astrophys. J.145, 333

1967 (with W. Duley) The Spectroscopy of Metal Atoms trapped in Low-Temperature Matrices of Inert Gases Proc. Phys. Soc92, 830

1968 (with K. Codling) Ultraviolet Extensions of the Arc Spectra of the Alkaline-Earths: the Absorption Spectrum of Strontium Vapour J. Phys. B 1, 106

(with G.L. Grasdalen, W.H. Parkinson and E.M. Reeves) Analysis of Autoionisa- tion Structure in the 5s2 1S0 – 4dnp, nf Spectrum of Sr I J. of Physics B 1, 114

1969 (with J.-P. Connerade) Absorption Spectra of Zn I, Cd I and Hg I in the Vacuum Ultraviolet Astrophys. J. 155, 667

(with J.-P. Connerade M.W.D. Mansfield and J.E.G. Wheaton) Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy in the 100-600Å, Wavelength Range Applied Optics 8, 919

(with F.S. Tomkins) Diamagnetic Zeeman effect and magnetic configuration mixing in long spectral series of Ba I. Astrophys. J. 158, 839

(With F.S. Tomkins) BaI Absorption Line Series at High Resolution. Astrophys. J. 158, 1219

1971 (with J.-P. Connerade and M.W.D Mansfield) Absorption Spectrum of Na I in the Vacuum Ultraviolet Astrophys. J. 165, 203

1973 (with E.M. Reeves, F.S. Tomkins and B. Ercoli) Rydberg Series and Autoionization

Resonances in the Sc I Absorption SpectrumProc. R. Soc. Lond. A 333, 1-16

(with E.M. Reeves, F.S. Tomkins and B. Ercoli) Rydberg Series and Autoionization Resonances in the Y I Absorption SpectrumProc. R. Soc. Lond. A 333, 17-24

1974 (with W.H. Parkinson) Series of Autoionization Resonances in Ba I Converging on Ba II 6 2P Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 341 45-48

(with E.M. Reeves and F.S. Tomkins) Hyperfine Structure and Isotope Shift of the 6s6p2 4P1/2 Level of Tl I Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 341, 163-166

1976 (with J.-P. Connerade, M.W.D. Mansfield and M.A.P. Martin) The Tl I Absorption Spectrum in the Vacuum Ultraviolet Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A350, 47-60

1977 (with J.-P. Connerade, M.W.D. Mansfield and M.A.P. Martin) Interchannel Inter- actions and Series Quenching in the 5d and 6s Spectra of Pb I Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A357, 499-512

1978 (with K.T. Lu and F.S. Tomkins) Configuration Interaction Effect on Diamagnetic Phenomena in Atoms: Strong Mixing and Landau Regions Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 362, 421-424

1980 (with J.-P. Connerade, M.A. Baig and G.H. Newsom) Potential Barrier Effects on Double Excitation Series of Ca I and Sr I Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 371, 295-307

(with F.S. Tomkins and H.M. Crosswhite) Magnetic Effects in Ba I and Sr I Absorption Spectra Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 373,189-197

1981 (with M.A. Baig, J. Hormes and J.-P. Connerade) Rotational Analysis of a New Electronic Transition of HBr and DBr J. Phys. B 14, L147

1982 (with J.P. Connerade, M.A. Baig, J. Hormes, T.A. Stavrakas and B. Alexa) Magnetic Rotation Spectroscopy with Synchrotron Radiation Journal de Physique 43, C2-317

1983 (with B. Alexa, M.A. Baig and J.-P. Connerade) Measurements of Atomic f-Values by Magneto-Rotation in the VUV Nuclear Instruments and Methods 208, 841

(with J.-P. Conneade, M.A. Baig, J. Hormes and B. Alexa) Measurement of Oscillator Strengths in the Ultraviolet by Magneto-Optical Rotation J.Phys.B 16, 389

1985 (with H. Crosswhite, H.M. Crosswhite and F.S. Tomkins) Simultaneous Diamag- netic and Paschen-Back Effects in Rydberg Series of In(I) Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 400, 55-60

1988 (with J.-P. Connerade) Some Complex Spectra of Simple Atoms J. Opt. Soc. Am. 5, 2119


James Dwyer McGee OBE (1966)

McGee James Dwyer McGee studied engineering at St John’s College, Sydney and switched to Physics at the end of the second year. Whilst at college, he was an active sportsman and popular at Irish gigs and reels where he would expertly play the violin. He won rst class honours on both Physics and Maths as well as the University Medal for physics. He was later awarded the James King Travelling Scholarship which was tenable for two years at Cambridge. In 1928 he joined the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge under Sir James Chadwick where he researched the charge carried by atoms of radium D. At the end of his time there, he presented his thesis entitled ‘The charge carried by α− ray recoil atoms’. After the Cavendish, Mc Gee decided to leave academia and turned his considerable mind to developping television which was not considered a viable prospect at the time. Mc Gee joined EMI in 1932 where research on the cathode ray tube , then known as ‘Emitrons’ by the company, was carried out. The apparatus proved to be reliable and was successfully adopted by the BBC. He continued his research on Photoelectricity, the electron optics of magnetic coils and solenoid electrostatic lenses, secondary electron emission simple image intensiers and photo multipliers. This was followed by the Super Emitron which was used for outdoor locations by the BBC. During the war he was instrumental in RAE research tests in detecting the locations of bombers and ghters at night using his ‘RG’ tube device. In 1952 he was made an Ocer of the Order of the British Empire. After twenty years at EMI, Mc Gee re -entered academia after he was invited by Patrick Blackett to take up a chair in Instrument Technology at Imperial College in 1954. He delivered his Inaugural lecture in 1955. During his time there he researched and reviewed camera tubes with astronomical applications in mind. In 1958 he organised a symposium entitled ‘Photoelectronic image devices as aids to scientic observation’. His work on high speed photography took place in the 1960s and from 1967 to 71, he rened the Spectracon and cascade intensier. The Spectracon was used for astronomical observing programmes by Mc Gee and Baum on the 100 inch telescope at the Mt. Wilson Observatory, it was also taken up by the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Mc Gee also introduced and established a post grad course in Photo electronics at Imperial . In 1966 he was elected a FRS. Later on he was awarded Honorary Associateship of the Royal College of Science at Imperial College and also elected a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and of the IOP as well as the Royal Astronomical Society. He eventually became Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics at Imperial. In 1972 he set up ‘Electron Physics Ltd’ which constructed and perfected prototype devices. He was a considerate and generous leader who hated bureaucracy but kept rm control on all research in his laboratory. His interest in sport and music was lifelong , he regularly swam, attended test matches, Wimbledon and the opera. Although his legacy is rooted in Photoelectronic detectors for major Observatories and the development of television tubes, he found time to invent and patent a device for removing warts towards the latter part of his life.

Sir Basil John Mason (1965)

Mason Sir Basil John Mason started his tertiary education at University College, Nottingham but was commissioned into the radar branch of the RAF when war broke out. He became Chief Instructor at the Fighter Command Radar School and after the end of the war, he worked in telecommunications and then returned to Nottingham to complete his external University of London degree. He joined Imperial College in 1948 and promptly took up the post of assistant lecturer in meteorology. He was eventually made a professor of cloud physics in 1961. His work there included the Mason Equation, giving the growth or evaporation of small water droplets. Amongst his sudents he gained the reputation of possessing an imperious persona and was never doubtful of his research results. He published several books which included ‘The Physics of Clouds’, (1957) and ‘Clouds, Rain and Rainmaking’ (1962). From 1960 onwards, he modernised the World Meteorological Organisation and was awarded many honours. In 1965 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and also received the Chree Medal from the Institute of Physics. He left Imperial in 1965 and took up the post of Director General of the UK Meteorological Oce from 1965 to 1983. In 1968, he became President of the Royal Meteorological Society until 1970 and in 1972, received the Rumford Medal from the Royal Society followed later by the Society’s Royal Medal in 1991. In 1973 he was honoured with the companion of the Order of the Bath and was later knighted in 1979 for his services to meteorology. He has been a Fellow of Imperial since 1974. The Mason Centre for Environmental Flows at the University of Manchester was opened by Mason in 2004. He also established and endowed the Mason Gold Medal in 2006 at the Royal Meteorological Society. Other published works include ‘Acid rain and its Eects on Inland Waters’ ( 1992 ) and ‘Highlights in Environmental Research - Professorial Inaugural lectures at Imperial College’ (editor, 2000).

Paul Taunton Matthews OBE (1963)

Matthews Paul Taunton Matthews was born in 1919 in India. During the Second World War instead of joining the army, he worked with the British Red Cross team in China. He came to Imperial College where he worked in the eld of theoretical physics distinguishing himself in quantum eld theory and the theory of Elementary particles. Amongst his doctoral students were Abdus Salam and Faheen Hussain making the theoretical physics group at Imperial one of the most important research groups of their time. In 1958 he was awarded the Adam’s Prize and elected to the Royal Society in 1963. He was the head of the Physics Department at Imperial College from 1971 to 1976 and awarded the Rutherford Medal and Prize in 1978. The University of Bath awarded him an Honourary Degree in 1983 and he was also the chairman of the Nuclear Physics Board of the Science Research Council. He also published many books and papers, amongst them are ‘Introduction to Quantum Mechanics’, ‘The Nuclear apple; recent discoveries in fundamental physics’, and ‘Lectures on strong and electromagnetic interactions’. He was also the receipient of the Order of the British Empire.

Morris Blackman (1962)

BlackmanProfessor Morris Blackman began his career at Imperial College as a Solid State post graduate student in 1933. His research was concerned with Lattice Theory Development and its application to determine such properties as specic heats. He worked closely with G.P. Thomson and headed the Electron Diraction group for over twenty years. He spent two years away from Imperial College during world war two working as a member of the British Committee on Atomic Energy from 1940-41 and also carried out scientic work for the Ministry of Home Security later on. During the 1950s he was the first departmental theoretical physicist and was appointed professor in 1959 until 1976 when he became emeritus. He was elected FRS in 1962. He also elected a member of the International Commission on Electron Diraction from 1957 - 66 and a member of the Safety in Mines Research Advisory Board for the Ministry of Power from 1963 - 74. He also served on the board of both the International Commission on Electron Diraction from 1957 to 1966 and the Safety in Mines Advisory Board from 1963 to 1974.

Sir Clifford Charles Butler (1961)

Butler Clifford Charles Butler was born in 1922. He gained both his BSc and PhD at the University of Reading after which he moved on to Manchester University in 1945 where he was appointed lecturer in Physics in 1947. His early research was within the field of electron diraction but after joining G. D. Rochester in a group headed by Patrick Blackett, he began to investigate the products of high-energy cosmic rays using a cloud chamber which operated in a magnetic eld. Their experiments led to the discovery of the ‘V’ particles which were much heavier than electrons and enormously long lived by nuclear timescales, later on they found that there were two types, hyperons and K-mesons. The observation of these ‘strange’ particles was an early path towards comprehending the quark structure of matter. In 1953, Butler moved to Imperial College, London as part of Blackett’s group. Butler became a professor and head of the High Energy Nuclear Physics group in 1957. The earliest working hydrogen bubble chamber in Europe was created at Imperial with the help of his able technician, Derek Miller. Later on larger chambers were built at Rutherford and Cern in Switzerland where an international research programme and collaboration were established to scan and analyse the images produced. Ten years later in 1963, Cliord Butler became the Head of the Physics Department which had evolved into one of the largest multi-group research departments in Europe. He also served as the Dean of the Royal College of Science and led with benevolence whilst upholding the highest standards of teaching and research as well as achievements. He left Imperial College in 1970 to become the Director of the Nuffield Foundation where he established programmes dealing with innovation in higher education, law and society, and the centre for agricultural strategy at the University of Reading. His interest in Physics never waned and he took on an important role as the Secretary- General and eventually, President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from 1975 to 1978. He was also involved with the establishment of the Open university and was its ViceChairman from 1986 to 1995. He retired in 1985 from his position as Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University . Sir Clifford Butler was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1961 and knighted in 1983 for his services to education.

Abdus Salam (1959)

Salam Abdus Salam was born in Jhang, a small town in Pakistan in 1926. At the age of 14 he gained the highest marks ever for the Matriculation Examination at the University of Punjab which earned him a scholarship to the Government College there. In 1946 he won another scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge where he distinguished himself with a double First in mathematics and physics in 1949 as well as the Smith’s Prize for the most outstanding pre-doctoral contribution to physics in 1950. By the time he received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1951, his work in the eld of quantum electrodynamics was already internationally acknowledged.

He returned to Pakistan in 1951 and later took up the post of head of mathematics at Punjab University in 1952. After a period of not only being Chairman of the Department of Mathematics but also Professor, he left in 1954 although he had hoped to start a school of research in theoretical physics. That year saw his return to Cambridge as a professor of mathematics at St John’s College. He took up a chair at Imperial College in 1957 where he set up the Theoretical Physics Group with Paul Matthews. They were joined by Steven Weinberg, Tom Kibble, Gerald Guralnik, C.R. Hagen, Riazuddin and John Ward and together they formed one of the most important and prestigious research groups. In1959 at the young age of 33, Salam was elected a member of the Royal Society. His fellowship at Princeton University that year, led to a link with J.Robert Oppenheimer and discussions on neutrinos and electrodynamics. His scientic output in the eld of theoretical elementary particle physics was prodigious and he had either been the originator or collaborator of important discoveries in this eld. Salam’s most noteworthy achievements include the magnetic photon, vector meson, the PatiSalam model as well as the Grand Unied Theory and supersymmetry. In 1979 he won the biggest prize in physics, the Nobel Prize, for his work on electroweak theory. This was shared with Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Glashow. The Nobel prize Foundation honoured them with this statement “For their contributions to the theory of the unfied weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current”.

Salam had always worked tirelessly to establish research centres in Pakistan. In the early sixties he became the founder of Pakistan’s space programme and was responsible for its space research. The International Centre for Theoretical Physics, (ICTP), was created by Salam in 1964 with the goals of training scientists from developing countries as well as the pursuit of cutting edge research. When he was presented with the Atoms for Peace Medal and Award, the prize money was used to nance visits to the ICTP by young Pakistani physicists. His generousity and zeal for scientic research and education also led him to use his share of the Nobel Prize towards these aims. The ICTP, now known as ‘The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics’ in Trieste is a major force in establishing scientic and technological education as well as research in the developping world via its alumni. It is ‘An institute run by scientists for scientists’.

He also founded the Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute in 1988. Edward Bouchet was the rst African American to earn a Phd, (physics), at Yale in 1876. The objective of the Institute is to foster scientic and technical collaborations between African and American physical scientists, engineers and technologists and to enhance sustainable development in African countries.

Abdus Salam held the prestigious posts of Chief Scientic Advisor to the President of Pakistan Ayub Khan from 1961 to 1974, then as Founder, rst Director and nally, President of ICTP in Trieste. He was not only a FRS but was awarded the Hughes Medal (1964), the Royal Medal (1978), the Copley Medal (1990) and the Bakerian (1980). Amongst the prizes presented to him were Smith’s Prize, Adam’s Prize, Sitara-e-Pakistan (1959), Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1979), and the Lomonosov Gold Medal (1983). Salam was awarded a KBE (Hon) in 1989. His pioneering work has helped towards the apparent discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012.

Alfred Gordon Gayden (1953)

Gayden Alfred Gordon Gayden was born in 1911. In 1929 he read Physics at the Royal College of Science, now Imperial College, London where he also distinguished himself as an oarsman rowing for the college. He then did post graduate research under Alfred Fowler before moving on to the Shirley Institute of the Cotton Research Association where he lost an eye in a near fatal accident. After the removal of the lens from his other eye, he discovered that he could see beyond the violet into the ultra -violet when viewing a spectrum of white light. In spite of such a disadvantage he developed the shock tube as a means of observing flames and combustion. This was useful in the development of jet engine and furnaces. He systematically studied the dissociation energies of all known diatomic molecules for which spectroscopic data could be obtained. He returned to Imperial College in 1936 and completed his thesis whilst almost blind although his sight improved with surgery later on. He remained at Imperial until his retirement. His research earned him many honours, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1953 and was also awarded the Rumford Medal. In 1961 he was appointed Professor of Molecular Spectroscopy at Imperial College and was the receipient of the Bernard Lewis Gold Medal of the Combustion Institute.

Sir David Brunt (1939)

Brunt David Brunt was born in 1886. In 1904 he won a scholarship to the University College of Wales where he studied mathematics, Physics and chemistry, gaining first class honours in mathematics in 1907. He moved to Trinity College, Cambridge and was elected to the Isaac Newton studentship in 1909. In the next three years he lectured in mathematics at Birmingham and Monmouthshire until he joined the Royal Engineers during the First World War in 1916 when he carried out important research on atmospherical conditions at low levels in chemical warfare. in 1921 he joined the Air Ministry when detailed weather forcating was neccessary as aeroplane flights became more frequent. This entailed the study of meteorology at lower levels of the atmosphere and basically, fluid dynamics. Later on he was made a part-time professor of meteorology at imperila Colelge, London and when Sir Napier Shaw died, Brunt became the first full time professor of meteorology in Britain. he held this post from 1934 to 1952. His research led him to the Brunt-Vaisala frequency which was independently descovered by both Brunt and Vaisala. At the final stage of his academic career, David Brunt attempted to connect human health with weather conditions.

Sir David Brunt became known at the father of meteorology and held many prestigious positions. he was president of the Royal Meteorological Society from 1942 to 1944 and received both thir Buchan prize and the Symons Gold Medal. he also held the post of president of the Physical Society from 1945 to 1947. He was not only a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1939 but was also awarded the Royal Medal in 1944. He became its secretary in 1948 and finally, vice-president from 1949 to 1957. In 1949 he received a knighthood and was honoured with a KBE in 1959.

Alexander Oliver Rankine (1934)

Rankine Alexander Oliver Rankine was born in 1881. He received a scholarship to University College London where he graduated in 1904 with first class honours in Physics and in 1912 was elected a fellow researching the viscosity of gases and inventing the Rankine Viscosimeter. During the First World War he was seconded by the government to to work with the Admiralty Research Laboratory developing submarine detection technology. He was part of an experimental area in which science was utilised by the military service. After the war, he worked with William Bragg at UCL on a system that was capable of transmitting sound through light which was mentioned in Popular Science as an ‘Effective technique for the transmission of speech by sunlight’. In 1919 he joined Imperial College as a Professor of Physics until 1925 when he was appointed Director of the Optics Department. When the merger of the Technical Optics Department and Physics occured , he was once again Professor of Physics. He also contributed an article on ‘Sound’ for the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1922. In the late 1920s the new field of geophysics attracted his interests and in 1934 the School of Applied Geophysics was established at Imperial. Rankine’s research included the improvement of the gravimeter and magnetometer. He left Imperial in 1937 and took up a position with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now known as British Petroleum. He however, retained the post of Emeritus Professor at Imperial College. His advice was sought again by the military during the Second World War, he worked on the development of FIDO, a system used for clearing fog from military runways. He also aided in the design and testing of the system in wind tunnels with other scientists and after further development, it helped to save many of the aircrew lives. His academic life and research were rewarded with many awards and honours. He was a founding member of the Institute of Physics, as well as President of the Optical Society. In 1934 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and from 1945 to 1953, was Secretary to the Royal Institution. In 1932 he had the honour of presenting the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture entitled ‘The Round of the Waters’. He delivered the 33rd Guthrie Lecture in 1949, ‘Experimental Studies in Thermal Convection’. He was also awarded an OBE.

Lord Blackett (1933)

Blackett Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett was born in 1897 and started his career as a naval cadet in 1914 at the Royal Naval College, Osbourne. He saw action in the battle of Jutland during his time on HMS Durham in the First World War. His interest in science was sparked by the need to improve the poor quality of the gunnery in the force. He took advantage of the opportunity of taking a course at Cambridge University which was oered by the the Admiralty to ocers. Blackett soon left the Navy and embarked on his new career in mathematics and physics at Cambridge.

While he was at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1921, he worked with Professor Rutherford and experimented with cloud chambers which resulted in photographic evidence of the transmutation of nitrogen into an oxygen isotope and a proton in 1924. He also worked on atomic spectra in Germany with James Franck and then started working with Giuseppe Occhialini in 1932. They conrmed the existence of the positron as well as ‘showers’ of positrons and electrons in equal numbers. This made him the leading expert in the field of anti-matter and annihilation radiation. Blackett became a professor of Physics at Birbeck College in 1933 when he carried out cosmic ray research. He moved on to Victoria University in Manchester where he established a major international research laboratory in 1937.

In the early years of the Second World War he served on various committees and contributed to the design of the Mark X1V bomb sight. 1940 Blackett soon became more involved with the war effort and was a Scientic Advisor carrying out analytical research on the anti U boat war as well as other naval operations. This operational research increased the survival odds of convoys and made precise recommendations for armour plating aircrafts among other improvements. He was also concerned with use of anti- aircraft defence during the blitz and was a member of the MAUD committee which looked into the feasibility of the atom bomb.

After the war he continued to work on cosmic rays and invented the counter - controlled cloud chamber. He was interested in the earth‘s magnetic eld linking it to geophysics, ie ‘rock magnetism’ with the object of discovering a precise history of this magnetic eld. This led to international consensus on the theory of continental drift. In 1948, Blackett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his investigation of cosmic rays using his counter - controlled cloud chamber. He was appointed Head of Physics at Imperial College in 1953. The Blackett Laboratory was named in his honour and he insisted that the spacious common room should be available to all. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1933, awarded the Royal Medal in 1940 and then became president of the Royal Society from 1965 to 1970. He was also awarded the American Medal for Merit and published ‘Military and Political Consecquences of Atomic Energy”. Blackett was also a prime mover in the creation of the Ministry of Technology. He believed that Britain should not develop atomic weapons and that the primary objective of science and technology is to ensure a decent life for all mankind. Standing as a champion of internationalism, he had a deep interest and concern for India and advised Jawaharlal Nehru on military and civil matters. In 1965 he became a Companion of Honour and in 1967, he received the Order of Merit. In 1969 he was created a life peer as Baron Blackett of Chelsea. The Blackett lunar crater is named in his honour. In 1975 the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, gave a memorial lecture in his honour in the Blackett laboratory.

Sir George Paget Thomson (1930)

Thomson Sir George Paget Thomson was born in 1892 and was the son of the physicist and Nobel Laureate J.J.Thomson who was responsible for discovering the electron. He rst studied mathematics and then Physics at Trinity College, Cambridge. His research under his father came to an end at the outbreak of the First World War when he joined the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and spent a brief time in France. On his return to England he researched the stability of aeroplanes and accompanying aerodynamic problems at Farnborough and at other establishments during the war. When the war was over, he returned to Cambridge as a Fellow and lecturer in Physics moving on to the University of Aberdeen three years later where he was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy.

During those eight years he discovered that electrons act as waves in spite of being particles after carrying out numerous experiments on the behaviour of electrons passing through very thin gold foil acting as diraction gratings on to a photographic plate. George Thomson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work later on in 1937. This was shared with C.J.Davidson. In 1930 he joined Imperial College as a professor where he carried out work on nuclear physics. He realised the possibility of military applications when it was discovered that ssion of uranium by neutron was possible in early 1939. During the Second World War he not only worked on magnetic mines but investigated the possibility of the atom bomb when he was appointed Chairman of the British Committee on Atomic Energy in1941. This possibility was of much interest to American atomic scientists at that time and there was close contact between the two countries on this development. After the war Sir George returned to Imperial College in 1946 and began theoretical research on extracting nuclear power from deuterium and was consultant to the British Atomic Energy Authority. He returned to Cambridge in 1952 where he was elected Master of Corpus Christi College. He was the author of ‘The Atom’ and importantly, ‘Wave Mechanics and the Free Electron’ as well as other publications.

Sir George Thomson received many honours , he was not only elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1929 but received its Hughes Medal in 1939 as well as the Royal Medal in 1949. He was the recepient of numerous honorary degrees from several universities and was knighted in 1943.

Alfred Fowler (1910)

Fowler Alfred Fowler was born in 1868 and at the tender age of 14 won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science which is now known as Imperial College , London. At the age of seventeen he was an assistant in spectroscopy to Norman Lockyer and at twenty, an astrophysics instructor. Later on in 1915, he held the post of Professor of Astrophysics and his research established the presence of titanium oxide in cool stars, ionization in stellar atmosphere , magnesium hydride in sunspots , carbon monoxide in the tail of comets and ozone in the earth’s atmosphere. He discovered that sunspots are cooler than their surroundings. He photographed the spectrum of the solar chromosphere and corona during his many expeditions to view eclipses. He also made contributions to atomic physics when the Bohr theory of the atom was published. He was a successful teacher at Imperial College until his retirement and death in 1940. One of his students was the author H.G.Wells.

During his career he won several awards, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1910 and also won the Royal Medal. He was presented with the Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal in 1915 and from 1919 to 1921, he was its president. He was the rst General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union and was reponsible for writing most of its bylaws. He was also presented with the Henry Draper Medal in 1920 and the Bruce Medal in 1934 as well as honoured with a CBE in 1935. A lunar crater, ‘Crater Fowler’ and an asteriod, ‘11765 Alfred Fowler’, have also been named in his honour.

Robert John Strutt (1905)

Strutt Robert John Strutt, 4th Baron Rayliegh was born in 1875. He read mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge but soon changed course to Natural Sciences. Later on he worked under J.J. Thomson at the Cavendish Laboratory researching the discharge of electricity through gases and early work on x-rays and electrons. Two years after becoming a Fellow of Trinity College, he was appointed Professor of Physics at Imperial College in 1908. Between 1904-1910, he worked on the estimation of the age of minerals and rocks by measuring their radium and helium content. He advanced the research done earlier by his father on light scattering giving rise to the term, 'Rayleigh Scattering’. In 1916 he collaborated with Alfred Fowler to prove the existence of ozone in the atmosphere, they proved that it was found mainly in the upper atmosphere. This is now known as the ozone layer.

After leaving Imperial in 1919, he continued his research privately and discovered that there were two types of light from the night sky, the aurora and the airglow. The ‘rayleigh’ which is a unit of photon ux used in the measurement of airglow, is named in his honour. Robert John Strutt published numerous papers as well as biographies of J.J.Thomson and his father, the third Baron Rayleigh. He also wrote one of the rst books on radioactivity, ‘The Becquerel rays and the properties of radium’.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1905 and delivered the Bakerian Lecture in 1911 and 1919.

Hugh Longbourne Callendar (1894)

Callender Hugh Longbourne Callendar was born in 1863. He was a Professor of Physics at Imperial College from 1902. He was previously at the Royal Holloway College from 1888 to 1893 and then at McGill University in Canada from 1893 to 1898 when he moved back to London at UCL until 1902.

During his academic career he made valuable contributions to thermometry, calorimetry and knowledge of the thermodynamic properties of steam. He also described a precise thermometer based on the electrical resistivity of platinum - the Platinum Resistance Thermometer. He developed the electrical continuous - flow calorimeter. In 1915 he published ‘The Callendar Steam Tables’and contributed to the First World War effort by using x-ray imaging technology to improve aircraft engines. Another of his major inventions was a rolling-chart thermometer that allowed long-duration collection of climatic temperature data. In later years his son, Guy Stewart Callendar, became the first to link warming and climate change with fossil fuel emissions.

Callendar became a very efficient Head of Department and was instrumental in the original departmental move in 1907. He will always be remembered as a kind and generous man as well as a keen motorist.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in1894. He was awarded three prestigious medals during his academic career, the Royal Society Rumford Medal in 1906, the Royal Society Bakerian Lecture in 1912 and the Physical Society Duddell Medal in 1923. In 1920 he was awarded a CBE.

Sir Charles Vernon Boys (1888)

Boys Sir Charles Vernon Boys was born in 1855. He attended the Royal School of Mines from 1873 to 1876, where he studied Physics under Frederick Guthrie. He then worked briey in the coal industry and returned to South Kensington as an assistant to Guthrie. After some time as a Demonstrator of Physics, he became an Assistant Professor in 1889 until 1897.

Boys was best known for his invention of the fused quartz torsion balance which allowed him to measure extremely small forces. He produced incredibly ne fused quartz bres to perfect the radio - micrometer which was used in an investigation ‘on the heat of the moon and stars’ in1888. He later championed the use of quartz as an insulator of electricity 1890. He was famous for his determination of the gravitational constant in 1897. In that same year he became one of the metropolitan gas referees and made great improvements in the methods of gas calorimetry which enabled gas to be priced on caloric value rather than volume. In the early 1890s he worked on high speed photography, this included images of lightning as well as bullets in flight and the air waves accompanying them. He lectured on the properties of soap films and published a book entitled ‘Soap Bubbles - Their Colours and the Forces Which Mould Them’. His academic life was long and in spite of the loss of one eye and defective vision in the other, he continued working and published books on natural logarithm and on weeds. When he was eighty -nine he published a paper entitled ‘An elliptograph’. During his long life he invented the Intergraph, the Radiomicrometer and improved the Calorimeter.

His many achievements were honoured, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1888. In 1896 he was awarded the Royal Medal and the Rumford Medal in 1924. He was knighted in 1935 and presented with the Elliot Cresson Medal in 1939.

Sir Arthur William Rucker (1884)

Rucker Sir Arthur William Rucker was born in London in 1848. He gained a BA at Oxford where he later became a Fellow of Brasenose College from 1871 to 1876. He moved to Leeds where he was a Professor of Physics at Yorkshire College until 1885. He then proceeded to the Royal College of Science from 1886 to 1901 until he was appointed principal of the University of London. In 1884 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society and jointly presented the Royal Society’s Bakerian Lecture in 1889. He was also awarded the Society’s Royal Medal 1891 for his research on liquid lms and terrestrial magnetism. He was widely known as a scientist, educator as well as an author. One of his many publications was entitled ‘ On the electrical resistance of thin liquid lms , with a revision of Newton’s table of colours ‘ in 1881. He was also a treasurer of the British Museum from 1891 to 1898 as well as President of the Physical Society from 1893 to 1895. He was elected President of the Royal Society from 1896 to 1901 and was honoured with a knighthood in 1902.

Frederick Guthrie (1871)

Guthrie Frederick Guthrie was a professor of physics at the Royal School of Mines in Exhibition road, the Metropolitan School of Science and the Normal School of Science from 1868 to 1886. During that period , he was elected FRS in 1871. He founded the Physical Society in 1873 (now known as the Institute of Physics) and became its president in 1884 until 1886 when he died . He was a firm believer in scientic experimentation and supported such experimental physicists as C.V. Boys and John Ambrose Fleming. In 1860, Guthrie also researched the physiological eects of mustard gas. With a science based future in mind, he wrote a book on the popularisation of science for schoolchildren. Using the nom de plume Frederick Cerny, he wrote the poems ‘ The Jew’ and ‘Logrono’. He also turned his hand to writing plays and was a linguist.

Sir Norman Lockyer (1869)

Lockyer Sir Norman Lockyer was born in 1836 and started out working in the War Office until his naturally enquiring mind and keen observation led him along the path of astronomy to which he devoted most of his leisure and personal resources. In 1862 he made painstaking studies of Mars using his own refracting telescope. He not only wrote his first scientic paper based on these observations but also added drawings and descriptions which were communicated to the Royal Astronomical Society in 1864. They were amongst the most accurate records ever made. He then distinguished himself as a pioneer in the application of the spectroscope to solar and stellar problems particularly the observation of solar prominences. He quickly became the acknowledged leader in the field of solar investigations and evolved from an amateur to that of a professional astronomer. In 1870 he acted as Secretary of the Royal Commission on Scientic Instruction and the Advancement of Science. Lockyer was transferred from the War Office to the Science and Art Department in South Kensington where later on, a temporary observatory was established which facilitated solar and stellar observations as well as photography and interpretation. In 1887 he became a Professor of Astronomical Physics in the Royal College of Science. When he retired he built a new Observatory in Sidmouth in 1916 which is now known as The Norman Lockyer Observatory.

He published several papers, amongst them ‘The Meteoritic Hypothesis’ in 1890, ‘The Chemistry of the Hottest stars’ in 1897 and a book ’Recent and Coming Eclipses’ and ‘The Dawn of Astronomy’ in 1894 . He was also the first editor of the journal, ‘Nature’ until his death in 1920. He was very aware and attracted to the question of the relation between the state of the sun and the meteorological conditions on earth with particular regard to the recurrence of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. Sir Norman Lockyer was most successful as a professor and through him scholarships for promising post graduates were established and using his influence as a Royal Commissioner from 1894 ensured that an adequate proportion of land on the South Kensington Estate was allotted to science. He held many honours and distinctions, he was elected a FRS in 1869 and held the post of Vice-President from1892 to 1893. He was also Rede Lecturer at Cambridge as well as Bakerian. He was the receipient of the Rumford Medal and Janssen Medal and was knighted in 1897. He was elected to honorary membership of nearly all of the leading scientic societies in Europe and America. The recently refurbished Norman Lockyer Observatory remains a testament to this extraordinary man.

Robert Hunt (1854)

Hunt Robert Hunt was born in 1807 in Plymouth. He started his academic career as a medical student but had to abandon it and return to Cornwall where he took up writing poetry in 1829. He was a man of many parts , he not only collected and published a collection of Cornish myths and legends, he also became secretary to the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in 1840 and following the invention of the daguerreotype, developed the actinograph. His intense interest in photography led to experiments and research on the action of light. He wrote the first English publication on the subject, ‘ Manual of Photography’ in 1841 as well as ‘ Researches on Light’ in 1844.

In 1845 he was invited to the Museum of Economic Geology where he was not only the keeper of the mining records but lectured on mechanical science and experimental physics when the school of mines was established in 1851. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1854 and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 1855. Robert Hunt was first and foremost the editor of ‘Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom. ’ He also co founded the Miners Association and in 1884 wrote and published a large and comprehensive book on British Mining.

John Tyndall (1852)

Tyndall John Tyndall was born in 1820 in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland. He studied at the University of Marburg, Germany in 1848 and became a professor of physics at the Royal Institution of Great Britain from 1853 to 1887. During his scientic career he was both a physicist and a chemist excelling in the study of dimagnetism and later on, thermal radiation as well as discoveries concerning atmospheric processes. He was the author of seventeen books which were instrumental in popularising experimental physics in the 19th century. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1852.

He was keenly observant and this led to many discoveries which included collecting ‘optically pure air’, the measurement of carbon dioxide in exhaled air, the composition of ozone as well as the phenomenon of thermophoresis in aerosols. He also invented an improved fireman’s respirator and turned his hand to building laboratory apparatus.

When he died in 1893, he was a wealthy man due to the proceeds of the sales of his books as well as lecture tour fees. He was a generous man who gave much of his wealth to charity and to the fostering of science.