He was born in Hammersmith, London. He was a former colleague of Rosalind Franklin at Birkbeck College with Aaron Klug, and John Finch and moved to the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge in 1962. He currently works at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research as an "Emeritus Scientific Member".
In 1981 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. and was awarded their 1997 Gabor Medal worth 100,000 Swiss Francs  "in recognition of his achievements in molecular biology, in particular his pioneering analyses of biological structures and viruses, and his development of the use of synchrotron radiation for X-ray diffraction experiments, now a widely used technique not only in molecular biology but in physics and materials science".
He is currently writing the scientific biography of Sir Aaron Klug.
- "Fellows". Royal Society. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
- "Biophysicist Prof. Kenneth Holmes Awarded the European Latsis Prize".
- "Gabor previous winners 2005 - 1989". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
- "European Latsis Prize". European Science Foundation. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
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