Skip to content
Fellows Directory

Peter Pusey

Professor Peter Pusey FRS


Elected: 1996


Peter Pusey is a pioneer of dynamic light scattering (DLS) and is known for elucidating the structure and dynamics of concentrated colloidal suspensions. Peter contributed to the development, underlying theory and applications of DLS. He was among the first to apply photon correlation techniques and, with colleagues, developed the now standard method of cumulant analysis for particle sizing. His theory, with William van Megen, of DLS by non-ergodic media resolved long-standing difficulties, allowing DLS studies of amorphous solid-like systems such as polymer gels and glassy colloidal suspensions.

With his work on the Brownian motions of strongly interacting particles, Peter was one of the first to apply microscopic approaches to colloidal suspensions. His research exploited analogies and differences between concentrated suspensions of ‘hard-sphere’ colloids and atomic materials, to investigate such fundamental phenomena as crystallisation, the glass transition and the formation of ordered binary superlattices.

With Eric Jakeman, Peter also introduced K-distributions; these have proved powerful in describing the statistical properties of, for example, microwaves scattered by the sea surface and laser light propagating through the atmosphere.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of Physics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Colloids, Crystallization, Glass Transition, Light scattering, Phase behaviour, Photon correlation spectroscopy, Polymers, Rheology, Structure and Dynamics