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Fellows Directory

Kenneth Pounds

Kenneth Pounds

Professor Kenneth Pounds CBE FRS


Elected: 1981


Kenneth Pounds has made important contributions to solar and cosmic X-ray astronomy both as a very able and innovative experimentalist and by vigorous leadership of the group he established at Leicester. He pioneered the use of space techniques for this work, playing a major role in introducing proportional counting for spectral studies, pulse length discrimination for signal/noise ratio improvement, Bragg crystal spectroscopy, the employment of balanced filter techniques and in applying the microchannel multiplier combined with a two-dimensional readout system to achieve resolutions of a few arc seconds on the US ‘Einstein’ satellite. These developments enabled him to make the first direct measurements of solar broadband X-ray spectra and to obtain most of the early high-resolution data. He was quick to perceive the value of very simple rocket experiments for sky-surveys and so carried out the first UK cosmic X-ray observation discovering early evidence for the transience of some sources. Kenneth’s research, leadership, accuracy of scientific judgement and astute perception of the current problems have gained for him a well-deserved international reputation.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Engineering
    • Space technology
  • Astronomy and physics
    • Astronomy
  • Other
    • Public understanding of science
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