Professor William Unruh FRS

William Unruh is renowned for pivotal contributions to the understanding of a range of subtle problems arising at the crossroads of quantum physics, gravitational theory and cosmology. His discovery that what is defined as the vacuum by inertial observers is perceived by an accelerated observer as a thermal bath was instrumental in opening new vistas in fundamental physics and cosmology.

He also showed that black hole evaporation (the Hawking effect) was also found in other situations, opening the possibility of experimental verification of the effect in systems such as Bose–Einstein condensates, nonlinear optical systems, or even in water flow.

Professional position

  • Hagler Fellow, Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • Physics Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics

    Gravitation, Mathematical and theoretical physics, Quantum theory, Computational physics, Cosmology

  • Other

    Science education at secondary level

  • Mathematics

    Applied mathematics and theoretical physics


  • UK-Canada Rutherford Lecture

    On 'Black holes: a theorist's laboratory'.

Professor William Unruh FRS
Elected 2001