Sir Peter Knight FRS

Peter Knight is a physicist renowned for his pioneering research into quantum optics. His forty years of work on the nonclassical properties of light and the theoretical underpinnings of quantum computing have established him as an influential figure within the wider UK physics community.

Peter was the first to predict that atoms in the presence of intense laser fields would radiate waves corresponding to high harmonics, and led the way in the development of code to describe the impact such fields would have on atomic systems.

Alongside his many other roles, Peter served as the first non-US based President of the Optical Society of America in 2004, and was President of the Institute of Physics from 2011 to 2013. In recognition of his work in optical physics, he was knighted in the Queen’s 2005 Birthday Honours List.

Professional position

  • Chair of the Quantum Metrology Institute, National Physical Laboratory
  • Professor and Senior Research Investigator, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics

    Quantum theory


  • Royal Medals

    For his pioneering research and international leadership in the field of quantum optics and quantum information science.

Sir Peter Knight FRS
Elected 1999