Queen’s Birthday Honours go to IOP members

18 June 2014

Three IOP fellows or honorary fellows, including two physicists who were involved in the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson, have been knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Professor Sir Thomas Kibble

IOP honorary fellow Prof. Thomas Kibble, senior research fellow and emeritus professor of physics at Imperial College London, was knighted for services to physics. His pioneering work helped to describe how particles acquire mass. 

IOP fellow Prof. Tejinder Virdee, professor of physics at Imperial College London, was knighted for services to science. He led the concept, design and construction of the CMS experiment at CERN and was its lead spokesperson until 2010. Results from the experiment and the ATLAS detector confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson. 

Professor Sir Tejinder Virdee

IOP fellow Prof. John Pethica was knighted for services to science. He is chief scientific adviser at the National Physical Laboratory, professor of physics at Trinity College Dublin and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford. He was awarded the Holweck Prize of the IOP and the French Physical Society in 2002 and is the physical secretary and vice-president of the Royal Society.

IOP fellow Prof. David Delpy, former chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, was awarded a CBE for services to engineering and scientific research.

Professor Sir John Pethica

IOP fellow Prof. Colin McInnes, director of the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, was awarded an OBE for services to space research, science and technology. OBEs were also awarded to IOP members Roger Griffiths, head of novel systems at MBDA UK Ltd, for services to the armed forces and the defence industry, and Sean Murphy, principal scientist at the Ministry of Defence, for services to military operational capability.

An MBE was awarded to IOP fellow Prof. William Evans, consultant physicist and head of medical physics and clinical engineering at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, for services to the NHS in Wales and overseas.

Among other prominent physicists to be honoured was Helen Mason, reader in solar physics at the University of Cambridge, who received an OBE for services to higher education and to women in science, engineering and technology.