He studied Physics at Queen's University, Belfast, and graduated BSc in 1970, then studying at postgraduate level, gaining a PhD in Laser Physics in 1973. He began lecturing at Imperial College London in 1973, rising to Reader before moving to St Andrews University as full Professor in 1985. From 1988 he was Head of Physics and Astronomy at the University.
He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001.
In 1989 he was made a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was Vice-President for Physical Sciences from 2010 - 2013.
- "Professor Wilson Sibbett FRS, CBE". The Royal Society. Retrieved 25 January 2009.
- "The Royal Society of Edinburgh | Scotlands chief advisor on science appointed by The RSE". royalsoced.org.uk. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: obituaries 1999, Alan James Duncan