School of Physics and Astronomy

Professor Peter Hobson, BSc PhD CPhys MInstP MIET FRSA


Head of School | Professor Of Physics

Telephone: 0207 882 6957
Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 106
Office Hours: Normally 08:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday


I was born and educated in Edinburgh gaining my BSc in Physics from Edinburgh University in 1981. I then moved to London to study for a PhD at University College London where I worked on an experiment at CERN measuring the charm production cross-section using a holographic bubble chamber. From 1984 to 1986 I was a Research Fellow at University College London before my appointment as a Lecturer in Physics at Brunel University. I held two senior positions at Brunel University within the School/College of Engineering. I was a Deputy Head of School with responsibility for the strategic development and successful delivery of, all the undergraduate programmes and their quality assurance.  From August 2016 until June 2019 I was the Head of the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering. In August 2019 I was appointed as a Professor of Physics at Queen Mary University of London and I am currently the Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy.

I have over 30 years’ experience as an experimental physicist, with a sustained track record of gaining research grants from a variety of funding sources (STFC, EPRC, NERC, EU, Leverhulme) and a significant publication record in a variety of international peer-reviewed journals. I have working in two large international collaborations at CERN (OPAL at Large Electron-Positron collider and CMS at the Large Hadron Collider) playing a significant role, over a period of nearly 25 years, in the development, construction and commissioning of the endcap electromagnetic calorimeter for CMS and searching for rare Standard Model processes involving the top quark. I have also worked in European collaborations in the areas of underwater holographic recording of plankton for ocean science (HOLOMAR), large-scale distributed computing for sensor systems (GRIDCC), and infrastructures for detectors at accelerators (AIDA-2020).

I am a member of two STFC committees (PPRP and the LHCb Oversight Committee) and am an experienced reviewer of grant applications from STFC, EPSRC and some international funding agencies (USA, Canada, Germany). I was a member of the local or national organizing committee of the first ten Position Sensitive Detectors conferences commencing in 1986.

I am a Chartered Physicist, a Member of the Institute of Physics, a Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, a member of the European Optical Society and a Fellow of the RSA.


Research Interests:

  • Experimental Particle Physics
  • Ionising radiation sensors
  • Holography
  • Luminescent materials (inorganic)
  • Radiation tolerant glasses and crystals


Grants awarded as PI in last 10 years

STFC funded

STFC DTA studentships (£759 k, ST/I505580/1, ST/I506702/1, ST/J500550/1, ST/K50189X/1, ST/M503393/1, ST/N503964/1, ST/S505286/1)

GridPP5 staff (£366 k, ST/N001273/1) and hardware (£122k, ST/P006906/1, £71 k ST/S003355/1)

GridPP4 staff (£629 k, ST/1003622/1, ST/K003542/1, ST/M004775/1)

GridPP4+ Brunel University London Tier2 Hardware Grant (£57 k ST/N006283/1)

GridPP4 hardware (£249 k, ST/J005479/1, ST/L005603/1)

GridPP networking infrastructure (DRI) - Brunel T2 grant (£162 k ST/J005479/1)

Additional support re: London Tier-2 Centre for GRIDPP3 (£101 k ST/I000305/1)

Upgrades of the Tracker and Trigger of the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC (£60 k ST/K003224/1)

Support for Particle Physics at Brunel University (£222 k ST/K001639/1)

CMS Upgrade Project WP1 Continuation (£31 k ST/J004782/1)

Exploitation of the CMS experiment at the LHC, construction of MICE phase 2 and R&D for large-scale neutrino detectors. (£154 k ST/H000925/2)

Other funders

AIDA 2020 (£7 k, European Comission)

Artist in Residence - Mrs Jayne Wilton (£14 k Leverhulme Trust)

Grants awarded as Co-I in last 10 years

High Speed Scanning for detecting Tampered Electrical Electronic Devices (HISTEED) (£75 k Defence Science and Technology Laboratory)

High temperature radiation hard detectors “HTRaD” (£638 k, EPSRC EP/L504671/1)

Advanced Dynamic Energy Pricing and Tariffs “ADEPT” (£304 k, EPSRC EP/I000119/1)

UK Space Agency NSTP CubeSat Mission Concept Study: CubeSat-XTEND (£10 k STFC)


This is a small selection, from over 1400 journal publications, covering my research career to date.

Virtually all of my publications in particle physics are available from or the CERN document server ( and about half of my publications are freely available in full-text form from Brunel University Londonl’s institutional repository BURA (

CMS Collaboration

Measurement of differential cross sections and charge ratios for t-channel single top quark production in proton-proton collisions at s√= 13 TeV, A M Sirunyan et al, Eur.Phys.J C 80 (2020) 370

Combinations of single-top-quark production cross-section measurements and |fLVVtb| determinations at s√= 7 and 8 TeV with the ATLAS and CMS experiment,  JHEP 05 (2019) 088 

Search for dijet resonances in proton-proton collisions at root s=13 TeV and constraints on dark matter and other models, A M Sirunyan et al, Physics Letters B 769 (2017), 520

Double side read-out technique for mitigation of radiation damage effects in PbWO4 crystals, M T Lucchini et al, J. Instrum. 11 (2016) P04021

Precise determination of the mass of the Higgs boson and tests of compatibility of its couplings with the standard model predictions using proton collisions at 7 and 8TeV ,V Khachatryan et al The European Physical Journal C 75 (2015) 212

Observation of the diphoton decay of the Higgs boson and measurement of its properties,  V Khachatryan et al, The European Physical Journal C 74 (2014) 3076

Evidence for the direct decay of the 125 GeV Higgs boson to fermions, S Chatrchyan et al Nature Physics 10, (2014) 557

Observation of the Associated Production of a Single Top Quark and a W Boson in p p Collisions at s= 8 TeV, S Chatrchyan et al, Physical Review Letters 112 (2014) 231802

Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC, S Chatrchyan, et al, Physics Letters B 716 (2012), 30

Measurement of the muon stopping power in lead tungstate, S Chatrchyan, et al, J. Instrum. 5 (2010) T03007

Performance and operation of the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter, S Chatrchyan, et al, J. Instrum. 5 (2010) T03010

S Chatrchyan, et al, The CMS experiment at the CERN LHC, J. Instrum. 3 (2008) S08004

OPAL Collaboration

A global determination of αs(MZ0) at LEP, P Acton et al, Zeitschrift für Physik C 55 (1992) 1

Measurement of the Z0 line shape parameters and the electroweak couplings of charged leptons, G Alexander et al, Zeitschrift für Physik C 52 (1991) 175

The OPAL detector at LEP, K Ahmet et al, Physics Letters B 251 (1990), 211

Measurement of the Z0 mass and width with the OPAL detector at LEP, M Z Akrawy et al, Physics Letters B 231 (1989), 530

An Application of the GEANT3 Geometry Package to the Description of the OPAL Detector, J Allison et al, Computer Physics Communications 47 (1987) 55


Performance of four CVD diamond radiation sensors at high temperature, G.R. Fern, P. R.Hobson, A. Metcalfe, D.R.Smith Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A 958 (2020) 162486

Simulating multi-channel vacuum phototriodes using COMSOL, S Zahid, P R Hobson, D J A Cockerill Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A 912 (2018) 119

An FPGA Based Track Finder for the L1 Trigger of the CMS Experiment at the High Luminosity LHC, Aggleston R et al, JINST 12 (2017) P12019

Parallel Monte Carlo Search for Hough Transform, R H C Lopes, V N L Franqueira, I D Reid, P R Hobson Journal of Physics : Conference Series 898 (2017) 072052

Diamond based detectors for high temperature, high radiation environments, A Metcalf et al, JINST 12 (2017) C01066

Development of an ionising radiation detector based on quantum dots absorbed in porous glass, R Baharin, P R Hobson, D E Leslie and D R Smith,  (2012) 12th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology (IEEE-NANO), Birmingham, 2012, doi:10.1109/NANO.2012.6322009

The design, construction and performance of the MICE scintillating fibre trackers, M Ellis et al, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A 659 (2011) 136

The two-dimensional Kolmogorov-Smirnov test,  R H C Lopes,  I Reid, P R Hobson, Proceedings of Science (2007)

Grid Computing Technologies for Renewable Electricity Generator Monitoring and Control, P R Hobson et al., (2007) OCEANS 2007 - Europe, Aberdeen, 2007, doi:10.1109/OCEANSE.2007.4302302.

GridPP: development of the UK computing Grid for particle physics, P J W Faulkner et al, J Phys. G 32 (2005)  N1

The principles and practice of holographic recording of plankton, P R Hobson, J Watson, Journal of Optics A 4 (2002) S34

Three-dimensional spatial coordinates of individual plankton determined using underwater hologrammetry, P R Hobson et al, Limnology & Oceanography 45 (2000) 1167

Investigation into the effects of indium, and the purity of precursor materials on the scintillation yield of cerium-doped heavy metal fluoride glasses for electromagnetic calorimetry in particle physics, K W Bell et al,  Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 256-257 (1999) 42

Optical and physical characteristics of HBLAN fluoride glasses containing cerium, S F Shaukat, K J McKinlay, P S Flower, P R Hobson,  J M Parker Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 244(1999)197

Precision coordinate measurements using holographic recording, P R Hobson, Journal of Physics E 21 (1988) 139

The holographic bubble chamber experiment and the determination of the effective charmed quark mass and the K-factor for hadronic charm production, H Cobbaert et al, Zeitschrift für Physik C 36 (1987) 577