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Honorary Fellows: Professor Alexander Bradshaw

Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics

In 2006 Alex Bradshaw was elected to Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics in recognition of his innovative work in surface physics and his services to physics in Europe.

Professor Bradshaw’s research has been instrumental in shaping our understanding of surface phenomena. He has made seminal contributions to spectroscopic techniques for characterising the structural, vibrational and electronic properties of atomic and molecular adsorbates on metal and semiconductor surfaces. Earlier in his career he played a major role in applying spectroscopy to the study of atoms and molecules adsorbed on metal surfaces. From the 1980s onwards he expanded his research in surface physics to the study of electronic band structure in two and three dimensions, x-ray absorption spectroscopy, surface phase transitions, reaction front dynamics and surface structural analysis of (co-) adsorbate systems, including more complex organic and biologically relevant adsorbate molecules. In particular he played a leading role in establishing photoelectron diffraction as a direct quantitative probe of the local adsorbate structure.

He has also provided outstanding service to the scientific community. In the 1980s he became the first scientific director at the BESSY 1 synchrotron radiation source which he helped turn into an international user facility.

During his term as president of the German Physical Society (1998-2000) he initiated the ‘Year of Physics’ a national public awareness campaign that helped to inspire the ‘World Year of Physics’. He was a co-founder and editor-in-chief (2001-2004) of the New Journal of Physics, published jointly by the Institute of Physics and the German Physical Society, the success of which has provided convincing evidence for the viability of a web-based open access journal in general physics.