Sir Thomas Walter Bannerman (Tom) Kibble - Biography#

Obituary, The Telegraph

Tom Kibble is a Senior Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics.

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 at them.

From 2001 to 2006, Tom Kibble was one of the two co-chairs of an interdisciplinary research Programme funded by the European Science Foundation 'Cosmology in the Laboratory' (COSLAB). He was previously the coordinator of an ESF Network on 'Topological Defects in Particle Physics, Condensed Matter & Cosmology.

Curriculum vitae#

Born: 23 December 1932, Madras, India
Married: Anne Richmond ALLAN, 6 July 1957 (d. 3 April 2005)
Children: Helen (b. 1960), Alison (1963), Robert (1969)

  • 1941–43 Doveton–Corrie School, Madras
  • 1944–51 Melville College, Edinburgh
  • 1951–58 University of Edinburgh
  • 1955 M.A., 1st class hons. Mathematics & Natural Philosophy
  • 1956 B.Sc., 1st class hons. Physics
  • 1958 Ph.D., Mathematical Physics (supervisor: Dr. J.C. Polkinghorne; thesis: Topics in quantum field theory: 1. Schwinger's action principle; 2. Dispersion relations for inelastic scattering processes.)

  • 1958–59 Commonwealth Fund Fellow, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • 1959–60 NATO Fellow, Imperial College of Science & Technology, London
  • 1961–65 Lecturer in Physics, Imperial College
  • 1965–66 Senior Lecturer in Physics, Imperial College
  • 1966–70 Reader in Theoretical Physics, Imperial College
  • 1967–68 Senior Visiting Research Associate, Department of Physics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
  • 1970–98 Professor of Theoretical Physics, Imperial College
  • 1983–91 Head of Department of Physics, Imperial College
  • 1992 Visiting Scientist, Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
  • 1994 EPSRC Visiting Scientist, Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge
  • 1998– Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics, Imperial College
  • 1998– Senior Research Fellow, Department of Physics, Imperial College
  • 2001 Senior Visiting Scientist, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
  • 2007 Lorentz Professor, University of Leiden, Netherlands

  • 1980 Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 1981 Hughes Medal of the Royal Society (with P.W. Higgs)
  • 1984 Rutherford Medal & Prize, Institute of Physics (with P.W. Higgs)
  • 1991 Fellow of the Institute of Physics
  • 1993 Guthrie Medal & Prize, Institute of Physics
  • 1998 CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
  • 2000 Member of the Academia Europaea
  • 2005 NESTA/Nature Lifetime Achievement Mentoring Award
  • 2009 Fellowship of Imperial College
  • 2010 J.J. Sakurai Prize, American Institute of Physics (with five others)

Membership of Professional Societies:
  • 1958 American Physical Society
  • 1961 Association of University Teachers
  • 1975 European Physical Society
  • 1975 Society for General Relativity & Gravitation
  • 1980 Royal Society
  • 1984 Royal Institution
  • 1991 Institute of Physics
  • 2000 Academia Europaea

Professional Committees:
  • 1966–69 Member, Editorial Board, Proceedings of the Physical Society/Journal of Physics A
  • 1975–78 Chairman, Imperial College Energy Studies Committee
  • 1976–80 Member, Editorial Board, Reports on Progress in Physics
  • 1977–80 Chairman, Imperial College Academic Staff Assembly
  • 1977–80 Member, Imperial College House Committee
  • 1978–83 Member, Imperial College Environmental Technology Committee
  • 1979–85 Member, Theory Sub-Committee of the Science & Engineering Research Council (SERC) Nuclear Physics Board
  • 1982–85 Chairman, do.
  • 1980–82 Member, Grants Sub-Committee of the Particle Physics Committee, SERC Nuclear Physics Board
  • 1980–83 Member, Royal Society Sectional Committee 1
  • 1982–83 Chairman, do.
  • 1981–87 Member, Joint Physics Education Committee of the Royal Society & the Institute of Physics
  • 1982–86 Associate Editor, Proceedings of the Royal Society
  • 1982–86 Member, SERC Nuclear Physics Board
  • 1984–85 Acting Chairman, do.
  • 1983–93 Member, Royal Society Education Committee
  • 1984–86 Member, SERC Astronomy, Space & Radio Board
  • 1985–89 Co-Editor, Europhysics Letters
  • 1985–89 Member, Physical Sciences Sub-Committee, University Grants Committee (UGC)
  • 1987–89 Member of Council, Royal Society
  • 1987–89 Member, Travelling Expenses Committee, Royal Society
  • 1988–89 Vice President, Royal Society
  • 1988–90 Member, Organizing Committee, 15th Texas Relativistic Astrophysics Conference/4th ESO-CERN Conference
  • 1988–92 Member, Committee on Elections to the Fellowship & Foreign Membership, Royal Society
  • 1989–91 Member, Royal Institution Members' Activities, Education & Library Committee
  • 1992–94 Associate Editor, Physical Review D
  • 1994–97 Member, Scientific Steering Committee, Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge
  • 1997–98 Member, Particle Cosmology Initiative Assessment Panel, Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)
  • 1997–2000 Chair, Co-ordination Committee, European Science Foundation (ESF) Network 'Topological Defects: Non-equilibrium field theory in particle physics, condensed matter and cosmology'
  • 1998–2003 Member, Editorial Board, Proceedings of the Royal Society A
  • 1998–2000 Chair, Local Scientific Committee, XIIIth International Congress on Mathematical Physics, Imperial College, July 2000
  • 2001–2006 Co-Chair, Steering Committee, ESF Programme 'Cosmology in the Laboratory'
  • 2005–2007 Member, Royal Society Research Appointments Panel A(i): Mathematics, Physics & Earth Sciences

Other Committees:
  • 1970–77 Member, National Committee, British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS)
  • 1971–74 Treasurer, do.
  • 1974–77 Chair, do.
  • 1976– Trustee, Science & Society Trust
  • 1981–91 Member, National Coordinating Committee, Scientists Against Nuclear Arms (SANA)
  • 1981–85 Vice-Chair, do.
  • 1985–91 Chair, do.
  • 1988–97 Chair, Martin Ryle Trust
  • 1997– Trustee, do.
  • 2007– Treasurer, Richmond Green United Reformed Church

PhD Students Supervised (since 1968):
DateStudentThesis Title
1968–71Jonathan F. Ashmore(transferred to Dr Robert Delbourgo)
1968–71Paul A. CollinsAspects of inelastic scattering theory
1968–71Andrew Rothery Some considerations of strong, electromagnetic and gravitational interactions of hadrons
1970–73Martin R. BrownGauge symmetries in quantum gravity
1971–74Kenneth A. WoodhouseSome investigations into the structure of local, gauge-invariant field theories
1972–75Fung-Yi ChanScale invariance, gauge theory and renormalization
1974–81Terence J. ShepherdDynamical symmetry breaking in model field theories (transferred from Dr R. Delbourgo)
1975–80Seifallah Randjbar-DaemiNon-linear quantum mechanics and semi-classical field theories
1980–83Pijushpani BhattacharjeeImplications of phase transitions in the early universe
1982–85John W. BarrettThe holonomy description of classical Yang-Mills theory and general relativity
1983–86Mark B. HindmarshCosmic strings and beads
1985–88David HawsTopological defects and phase transitions in the early universe (with Dr Neil Turok, transferred from Dr Hugh Jones)
1989–92Filipe FreireRenormalization group theory for crossovers
1989–93Daren AustinFormation and evolution of cosmic strings
1991–94David Coulson(transferred to Dr Neil Turok)
1992–95Alasdair GillField theory and topological defects
1992–93Christos Tsagas(with Dr Andreas Albrecht; withdrew for personal reasons)
1993–96Andrew YatesThe formation and electrodynamic properties of cosmic strings
1994–97Danièle Steer Thermal fields and cosmic loops
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