Tom Kibble

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Sir Tom W. B. Kibble
Born (1932-12-23) 23 December 1932 (age 83)[1]
Madras, Madras Presidency, British India
Nationality British
Fields Theoretical physics
Institutions Imperial College London
Alma mater University of Edinburgh, BSc, MA, PhD
Thesis Topics in quantum field theory: 1. Schwinger's action principle; 2. Dispersion relations for inelastic scattering processes (1958)
Doctoral advisor John Polkinghorne
Known for Quantum field theory, Broken symmetry, Higgs Boson, Higgs mechanism, and Cosmology
Notable awards

Dirac Medal
Sakurai Prize
Hughes Medal (1981)
Rutherford Medal and Prize (1984)
Guthrie Medal and Prize
Fellow of the Royal Society

Fellow of Imperial College London

Sir Thomas Walter Bannerman "Tom" Kibble, CBE FRS (born 23 December 1932), is a British theoretical physicist, senior research investigator at The Blackett Laboratory, at Imperial College London, UK and Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College.[2] His research interests are in quantum field theory, especially the interface between high-energy particle physics and cosmology. He has worked on mechanisms of symmetry breaking, phase transitions and the topological defects (monopoles, cosmic strings or domain walls) that can be formed. His paper on cosmic strings introduced the phenomenon into modern cosmology.[3] He graduated from the University of Edinburgh (BSc 1955, MA 1956, PhD 1958).[4]


Kibble is most noted for his co-discovery of the Higgs mechanism and Higgs boson with Gerald Guralnik and C. R. Hagen (GHK).[5][6][7] As part of Physical Review Letters 50th anniversary celebration, the journal recognized this discovery as one of the milestone papers in PRL history.[8] For this discovery Prof. Kibble was awarded The American Physical Society's 2010 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics.[9] While widely considered to have authored the most complete of the early papers on the Higgs theory, GHK were controversially not included in the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.[10][11][12] In 2014, Nobel Laureate Peter Higgs expressed disappointment that Kibble had not been chosen to share the Nobel Prize with François Englert and himself.[13]

Kibble is a Fellow of the Royal Society, of the Institute of Physics, and of Imperial College London, a member of the American Physical Society, the European Physical Society and the Academia Europaea, a honorary member of the Romanian Academy as well as a CBE. He has been awarded the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society, the Rutherford and Guthrie Medals of the Institute of Physics, and the Albert Einstein Medal. He pioneered the study of topological defect generation in the early universe.[14] The paradigmatic mechanism of defect formation across a second-order phase transition is known as the Kibble-Zurek mechanism. Kibble is one of the two co-chairs of an interdisciplinary research programme funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF) on Cosmology in the Laboratory (COSLAB) which runs from 2001 to 2005. He was previously the coordinator of an ESF Network on Topological Defects in Particle Physics, Condensed Matter & Cosmology (TOPDEF). Kibble is the author, jointly with Frank Berkshire of the Imperial College Mathematics Department, of a textbook on classical mechanics, titled Classical Mechanics. The fifth edition was published by Imperial College Press in Spring 2004. In 2008, Kibble was named an Outstanding Referee by the American Physical Society.[15]

He was knighted in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to physics.[16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Kibble was born in Madras, India and is the grandson of author Helen Bannerman and William Bannerman, who was an officer in the Indian Medical Service. He was educated at Doveton Corrie School in Madras, India and then in Edinburgh, UK at Melville College and at Edinburgh University.[2] Kibble married Anne Allan in 1957 and was married to Anne until her death in 2005. Kibble has three children and, in 2014, had seven grandchildren.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The International Who's Who 1996-97 (60 ed.). Europa Publications. 1996. pp. 826–827. ISBN 9781857430219.  [1]
  2. ^ a b c "Science - It's not Fiction; Tom Kibble". FP News, The magazine and Annual Review of The Stewart's Melville FP Club. Daniel Stewart's and Melville College Former Pupils Club. December 2014. p. 13. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Hindmarsh, M.; Kibble, T. (1995). "Cosmic strings". Rept.Prog.Phys. 58: 477–562. arXiv:hep-ph/9411342. Bibcode:1995RPPh...58..477H. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/58/5/001. 
  4. ^ Kibble, Tom (2011). "Thomas Walter Bannerman (Tom) Kibble – Biography". Curriculum vitae. The Academy of Europe. 
  5. ^ "Phys. Rev. Lett. 13, 585 (1964) - Global Conservation Laws and Massless Particles". Physical Review Letters. 
  6. ^ "[0907.3466] The History of the Guralnik, Hagen and Kibble development of the Theory of Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking and Gauge Particles". 
  7. ^ "Guralnik, G S; Hagen, C R and Kibble, T W B (1967). Broken Symmetries and the Goldstone Theorem. Advances in Physics, vol. 2" (PDF). 
  8. ^ "Physical Review Letters - Letters from the Past - A PRL Retrospective". Physical Review Letters. 
  9. ^ "APS Physics - DPF - J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics". 
  10. ^ “The 2013 Nobel prizes. Higgs’s bosuns.” Economist (October 12, 2013)
  11. ^ “Why are some scientists unhappy with the Nobel prizes?” Economist (October 9, 2013)
  12. ^ "[1401.6924] Where Have All the Goldstone Bosons Gone?". 
  13. ^ "Early night cost Higgs credit for big physics theory". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Kibble, T. W. B. (1976). "Topology of cosmic domains and strings". J. Phys. A: Math. Gen. 9: 1387. Bibcode:1976JPhA....9.1387K. doi:10.1088/0305-4470/9/8/029. 
  15. ^ "APS Journals - Outstanding Referees". 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60895. p. b2. 14 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list 2014: Knights". the Guardian. 

External links[edit]