The Department has a distinguished history, with the study of Physics at King's College dating back to its foundation in 1829. The first Professor was Sir Charles Wheatstone, with other former professors including James Clerk Maxwell, who discovered the unified equations of electromagnetism while at King's, and four Nobel laureates. The seminal x-ray crystallography work by Wilkins and Franklin which led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, was performed in the Physics Department. The department today has a reputation as a friendly and supportive environment, with research in the department encompassing biophysics, materials science, nanotechnology, and theoretical particle physics and cosmology.
The Department has recently appointed international research leaders to head its three research groups: Professor John Ellis FRS, who has joined King's from CERN to lead the Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology Group; Professor Mark van Schilfgaarde, an expert in electronic structure theory, who heads the Materials & Molecular Modelling Group; and Professor Anatoly Zayats, a world-leader in the new field of plasmonics, who leads the Experimental Biophysics & Nantotechnology Group. Activities in biophysics enjoy strong links with the Randall Division for Cell and Molecular Biophysics in the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the molecular and materials modelling group is part of the London-based Thomas Young Centre for Theory and Simulations of Materials. Research in theoretical physics and cosmology has a particular focus on the interdisciplinary area of astro-particle physics and on LHC phenomenology, with strong links to CERN through an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant held by Prof Ellis.
Joint PhD programme
Exciting opportunities are now available to undertake a joint PhD programme with Hong Kong University or as part of the Erasmus Mundus scheme.