Sir James Hough OBE FRS

Sir James Hough is an outstanding and internationally recognised experimentalist, working in the field of gravitational wave physics. As Associate Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research, he has brought the United Kingdom to the forefront of this area and has participated in the discovery of gravitational waves from coalescing black hole binary systems and coalescing neutron stars.

In order to measure strains in space of 10–23 per root hertz, James and his colleagues developed innovative and practical laboratory techniques including laser stabilisation, quasi-monolithic bonding of materials for suspension systems and measurement of ultra-low optical loss. Aspects of these techniques have been transferred to other fields and to industry.

Professional position

  • Associate Director, Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow

Subject groups

  • Other

    Public understanding of science

  • Astronomy and physics


  • Engineering

    Instrumentation, Materials science (incl materials engineering)


  • Bakerian Medal and Lecture

    For his world-leading work on suspensions systems for the test masses used in laser interferometry, pivotal to the successful detection of gravitational waves.

Sir James Hough OBE FRS
Elected 2003