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Materials expert joins Queen Mary University of London

Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, CBE, FREng, FRS, the renowned British physicist and materials expert, is set to join Queen Mary University of London as Professor of Materials Science.

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Professor Sir Colin Humphreys
Professor Sir Colin Humphreys

Working in the School of Engineering and Materials Science from 1 March 2018, he will be responsible for raising the profile of Materials Science at Queen Mary and carrying out research projects.

Principal and President of Queen Mary, Professor Colin Bailey, said: “The appointment of Professor Humphreys is fantastic news for Queen Mary. I’m confident that he will bring his outstanding research expertise and leadership qualities to our institution and will make a very significant contribution to our academic activities and profile.”

Sir Colin joins from the University of Cambridge where he works as Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy. He said: “I’m delighted to join Queen Mary University of London as Professor of Materials Science. I very much look forward to working in the School of Engineering and Materials Science to perform research into graphene and other materials and develop them into a wide range of applications for UK industry.”

Professor Edmund Burke, Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering, added: “Colin’s world-leading research will provide us with a number of research funding opportunities to build further upon the outstanding research base in Science and Engineering at Queen Mary.”

Pioneering work

Sir Colin has carried out valuable work on the electron microscopy of semiconducting materials. His world-leading research on gallium nitride (GaN) has resulted in a substantially improved understanding of this important material with a wide range of technological applications including in LED lighting.

Professor Wen Wang, Head of Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science, said: “Colin will make an excellent addition to the School of Engineering and Materials Science and I very much look forward to working with him to help raise the profile of Materials Science.”

In parallel with his scientific career, Sir Colin has devoted considerable time and effort to communicating materials science to lay audiences. This work led to his being awarded a CBE in January 2003 for services to science as a researcher and communicator, followed by a knighthood in 2010. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.

Graduating in Physics from Imperial College, London, Sir Colin did his PhD in the Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge, was a Lecturer in the Materials Department in Oxford, then Head of Materials Engineering at Liverpool before joining the University of Cambridge in 1990, becoming Head of its Materials Department in 1991.

His hobby is reconstructing what happened in ancient historical events using modern-day science. He has written a book The Miracles of Exodus: a Scientist Reveals the Extraordinary Natural Causes Underlying the Biblical Miracles, published in 2003.

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