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Wheatstone Lectures


Sir Charles Wheatstone FRS (1802-75) was Professor of Experimental Philosophy at King's and was the first Professor in the Department from 1834 until his death in 1875. Polymath and self-taught son of a London-based musical instrument maker, Wheatstone conducted early experiments into acoustics and the transmission of sound. His greatest achievement was the development of the electric telegraph, which revolutionised communications in the nineteenth century.

Upcoming Event

The Wheatstone Lecture this year is on 14th February 2018 delivered by Professor Ian Walmsley FRS (University of Oxford); his lecture is entitled:

Building quantum machines out of light

Light has the remarkable capacity to reveal quantum features under ambient conditions, making exploration of the quantum world feasible in the laboratory and field. Further, the availability of high-quality integrated optical components makes it possible to conceive of large-scale quantum states by bringing together many different quantum light sources and manipulating them in a coherent manner and detecting them efficiently. By this route, we can envisage a scalable photonic quantum network that will facilitate the preparation of distributed quantum correlations among many light beams. This will enable a new regime of state complexity to be accessed - one for which it is impossible using classical computers to determine the structure and dynamics of the system. This is a new regime not only for scientific discovery, but also practical purpose: the same complexity of big quantum systems may be harnessed to perform tasks that are impossible using known future information processing technologies. For instance, ideal universal quantum computers may be exponentially more efficiently than classical machines for certain classes of problems, and communications may be completely secure. Photonic quantum machines will open new frontiers in quantum science and technology. 

Ian Walmsley holds the Hooke Chair of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford, where is also the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

The lecture will be held in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre (6th Floor of the King's Building), 

You can book your ticket here


The 2019 Wheatstone Lecture will be presented by Prof Stefan Hell (20/02/2019).


 Past Wheatstone Lectures

2013 - Present

1st February 2017:

Professor Miles Padgett, FRS FRSE

'How many pixels does your camera have?'

10th February 2016:

Professor Jenny Nelson, FRS

 'New materials for solar to electric energy conversion: Opportunities and challenges'

18th February 2015:

Professor Nader Engheta

'From Wheatstone Bridge to Optical Nanocircuitry'

12th February 2014:

Professor Peter J Dobson OBE

'Nanotechnology and a legacy of Sir Charles Wheatstone'

13th February 2013:

Professor Sir David N Payne KBE FRS FREng

'Enlightening the World'




programmes from previous years

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