Tributes to Alumni


  • Professor David C. Jewitt (University of California, USA)

A co-recipient of the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics “for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system”, Professor Jewitt graduated from UCL in 1979 with a BSc Astronomy 1979.

Tributes to Staff

Many famous faces and high achievers began their careers at UCL, those of particular interest from Physics and Astronomy are:

Nobel Prize Winners

Prof. Sir William Henry Bragg (1862-1942)
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1915
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1915 was awarded jointly to Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg "for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays"
William Bragg
Prof. Francis Harry Compton Crick (1916-2004)
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1962 was awarded jointly to Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material"
Francis Crick
Prof. Sir Owen Willans Richardson (1879-1959)

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1928
"for his work on the thermionic phenomenon and especially for the discovery of the law named after him"
Owen Willans Richardson

Significant Historical Figures

Prof. Leonardo Castillejo (1924-1995)

To students brought up in an age of publish or perish, Leonardo must seem like a glaring anomaly. He was somebody who loved discussing new ideas in depth with students, colleagues, and visitors and his ability to get to the crux of the problem, no matter what the field, made him widely respected and admired, despite the fact that his name has been on fewer papers than many current postdoctoral fellows!

Obituaries from Physics World and the Independent newspaper.

Leonardo Castillejo

Prof. Sir Harrie Massey (1908-1983)

Massey was Head of the Physics Department from 1950 until 1973, by which time Physics had been merged with Astrophysics.

He was the first chairman of the British National Committee for Space Research, the first Chairman of the European Space Sciences Committee and helped found the European Space Research Organization as well as the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL.

Prof. Sir Harrie massey

Prof. Sir. Robert Wilson (1927-2002)

One of the pioneers for the development of the Great Space Observatories, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Bob was best known for his role as "father" of the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite. 

Obituary written by Prof. Ian Howarth for The Independent

Prof. Sir Robert Wilson


Clabon Walter (C W) Allen

The first Perren Professor at UCL and former director of the University of London Observatory (ULO)

Edward Andrade

Worked on the wave nature of gamma rays, and on X-ray spectra. He was Quain Professor of Physics at the University of London from 1928 to 1950

Alexander Boksenberg FRS CBE 

Won the 1999 Hughes Medal of the Royal Society "for his landmark discoveries concerning the nature of active galactic nuclei, the physics of the intergalactic medium and of the interstellar gas in primordial galaxies"

R L F Boyd

Director of the Space Science Laboratory.

Eric Henry Stoneley Burhop

Worked on the Manhattan Project, USA 1945-50, won the Lenin Peace Prize 1972, President or the World Federation of Scientific Workers 1971-80. and founding member of the Pugwash committee.

Paul Davies OA

Awarded an Order of Australia (OA) in 2007, and a recipient of the Templeton Prize, the Kelvin Medal, and the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize. His research focuses on the 'big questions' of existence, ranging from the origin of the universe to the origin of life and the nature of time.

Michael J. Seaton FRS

An influential mathematician, atomic physicist and astronomer, he held the Presidency of the Royal Astronomical Society [RAS] between 1979 and 1981, and was awarded its Gold Medal in 1983. This was followed by the Guthrie Medal and Prize, from the Institute of Physics in 1984, and the Hughes Medal of the Royal Society in 1992.

Frank Russell Stannard OBE

Awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 for ‘contributions to physics, the Open University, and the popularisation of science’, and a recipient of the templeton prize in 1986.

Please also see the History section of our website