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Top 5 Well-Known Physicists in the UK Today

Britain is the birthplace of some of the most well-known physicists in the world. While pre-20th century legend Sir Isaac Newton remains the figurehead of Britain’s contributions to physics, there are plenty of celebrated modern-day British physicists making incredible discoveries every day. If you’re interested in learning about them, keep reading.

Here are our top 5 well-known physicists in the UK today.


Roger Penrose

Famous mathematician and theoretical physicist Roger Penrose was born in Colchester, England in 1931.

His career (so far) has centred on black holes and consciousness. His most famous research into black holes proved that they can arise as a result of the gravitational collapse of massive dying stars.

Penrose has also looked into quantum theory. He invented ‘twister theory’ which has become a widely studied branch of theoretical physics.

His numerous awards in physics include the Albert Einstein Medal in 1990 and the Nobel Prize 2020.


Lyn Evans

Lyn Evans was born in 1945 in a small town called Aberdare in South Wales. He studied physics at Swansea University and went on to become the project leader of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland. His work there focused on finding answers to some of the fundamental open questions in physics.

His impressive career has earned him the nickname ‘Evans the Atom’ as well as numerous science awards, including the 2012 Special Fundamental Physics Prize.


Brian Cox

Professor Brian Cox was born in Oldham, England in 1968. The former musician turned physicist has become something of a household name in recent years. He first became famous during his time as a keyboardist in two popular music groups throughout the 90s.
Today, he is perhaps most well-known for his appearances on various science-themed radio and TV programmes. He is also a professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester and works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland.


Michael Kosterlitz

Scottish-American physicist Michael Kosterlitz was born in 1943 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He currently holds the title of Professor of Physics at Brown University in the United States, but he previously worked as a lecturer and reader at the University of Birmingham. During his time in Birmingham, he collaborated with Professor David Thouless. Their work on phase transitions during this time contributed to their Nobel Prize win in 2016.


Andre Geim

Dutch-British physicist, Andre Geim, was born in 1958. His long list of scientific achievements includes a PhD in physics from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Chernogolovka and roles at several European universities, including a position at the University of Manchester, which he currently still holds.

In 2010, Geim was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics alongside his colleague, Russian-British physicist, Konstantin Novoselov. The pair earned the prize for their “groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.”


If you would like to learn more about Britain’s top scientists, check out our 15 Famous British Scientists blog next!

Why not take our fun quiz to find out which famous UK scientist you are? Click the link below:

QUIZ: Which Famous UK Scientist Are You?