Three new honorary fellows of the IOP are named

13 October 2014

Three distinguished physicists are to be made honorary fellows of the Institute of Physics (IOP) on 15 October. The award – the highest honour that the IOP can bestow – will be conferred on the three at the IOP’s Awards Dinner in London.

Hon fellows
(L-R) Becky Parker, Robin Williams, Peter Knight

The new honorary fellows, Prof. Sir Peter Knight, Becky Parker and Prof. Robin Williams, will join the existing 51 honorary fellows, who are all distinguished individuals who have given exceptional service to physics or a closely related discipline, or have given important service to the IOP, or whose relationship with the Institute has been of tremendous benefit. Individuals on the existing list include Prof. Stephen Hawking and Prof. Peter Higgs.

Prof. Sir Peter Knight, who was president of the Institute in 2011-13, is made an honorary fellow for major contributions to physics through his pre-eminent research, his influential leadership roles and his services to the IOP. His research has been at the forefront of optics and quantum information science and he established the quantum optics group at Imperial College London. He was knighted for his work in optical physics in 2005 and made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1999. He has been chief scientific adviser to the National Physical Laboratory, was a member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council and chaired the Defence Scientific Advisory Council. He remains a government science adviser.

Becky Parker is made an honorary fellow for her contributions to the field of physics education. Awarded an MBE in 2008, she is head of physics at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and director of the Langton Star Centre there, which she developed. The centre is a specialist facility including an observatory, where students can join collaborative astronomy and space projects in the UK and beyond, including some with NASA and the European Space Agency. The most prominent of these is the Langton Ultimate Cosmic Ray Intensity Detector. It is estimated that former Langton students make up 1% of the national cohort of physics undergraduates and 2% of the female physicists cohort at university.

Prof. Robin Williams is made an honorary fellow for his distinguished research in the field of semiconductor surfaces and interfaces, and his many contributions to development of physics research in Wales. His pioneering fundamental research has been highly relevant to the operation of a wide range of devices. He headed the department of physics and astronomy at Cardiff University for 10 years before becoming vice-chancellor of Swansea University. A founding fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and of the Science Advisory Council for Wales, he also helped to lay the foundation for Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. He received a CBE in 2004 for services to science and to education.

View the full citations below:

Dr Becky Parker

Professor Robin Williams

Professor Sir Peter Knight