Philip Russell is one of the Directors at the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), a position he has held from January 2009, when MPL was founded.
Since 2005 he has been the Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He was professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Bath from 1996 to 2005, during which time he founded and led the photonics research group that in 2005 became the Centre for Photonics & Photonic Materials.
He obtained his D.Phil. (1979) degree in volume holography at the University of Oxford, spending three years as a Hayward Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College. In 1982 and 1983 he was a Humboldt Fellow at the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (Germany), and from 1984 to 1986 he worked in research groups at the University of Nice (France) and at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. From 1986 to 1996 he was based mainly at the University of Southampton.
For almost 30 years he has specialized in the behavior of light in periodic structures as well as nonlinear optics, waveguides and optical fibres. He was the founding chair of the OSA topical meeting series "Bragg Gratings, Photosensitivity & Poling".
In 2001 he started the company BlazePhotonics Ltd, a Bath University spin-out whose aim was the commercial exploitation of photonic crystal fibre. He has close to 300 journal publications and is inventor on 37 patents or patent disclosures. He has been a fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) since 2000, when he won the OSA Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize for the invention of PCF. He has also been awarded the Applied Optics Division Prize (2002) and the Thomas Young Prize (2005) of the UK Institute of Physics. In 2004 he received a Royal Society/Wolfson Research Merit Award and in 2005 was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. In September 2005 he received the Koerber Prize for European Science from the Hamburg-based Koerber foundation. He was holder of an IEEE-LEOS Distinguished Lecturer Award from July 2004 to June 2006 and was a Director-At-Large of OSA from 2007 to 2009.