Peter Knight (scientist)

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Sir Peter Knight
Citizenship British
Fields Physics
Institutions Imperial College London
Education Bedford Modern School
Alma mater Sussex University
Notable awards Young Medal and Prize (1999)

Sir Peter Knight, FRS is a British physicist, Professor of Quantum Optics and Senior Research Investigator Imperial College London, and Principal of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre.[1] He was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2005. He was president of the Optical Society of America in 2003, the recipient of the Frederic Ives Medal in 2008,[2] and the Royal Medal in 2010. He was president of the Institute of Physics from 2011 - 2013.

His work is concerned principally with theoretical quantum optics, strong field physics and especially quantum information science. According to Thomson-ISI he is the most frequently cited AMO (Atomic Molecular and Optical) theorist in the world.

Knight was educated at Bedford Modern School.[3] He received his first degree and D.Phil. from Sussex University and became Research Associate at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Rochester and at the Physics Department and SLAC, Stanford University, USA. He was then SRC Research Fellow at Sussex University, and later Visiting Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

In 1976 he became Jubilee Research Fellow from 1976-1978 at Royal Holloway, University of London, 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.

Since 1 October 2010, Sir Peter has been the Principal of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre at Chicheley Hall. 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 the current president of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America and a fellow of the Royal Society. He is a newly elected member of Council of the Royal Society. He sits on the European Advisory Board of Princeton University Press.[4]


  1. ^ Biographical summary: Professor Sir Peter Knight FRS
  2. ^ "Past Presidents of the Optical Society of America". Optical Society of America. 
  3. ^ "School of the Black and Red-A History of Bedford Modern School" by Andrew Underwood (1981); reset and updated by Peter Boon, Paul Middleton and Richard Wildman (2010)
  4. ^ Princeton University Press, European Advisory Board

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