Peter Knight Named Recipient of the 2019 Herbert Walther Award

22 November 2018

Peter Knight Named Recipient of the 2019 Herbert Walther Award

Joint OSA, DPG award honors path-breaking contributions to quantum optics, quantum information science

WASHINGTON — The Optical Society (OSA) and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesell­schaft (DPG) have named OSA 2004 President Peter Knight the 2019 recipient of the Herbert Walther Award. Knight is recognized “for remarkable and varied contributions to quantum optics and quantum information science, ranging from foundations to applications.”


Credit: Institute of Physics, London

“Peter Knight is one of the world’s leading authorities on quantum information science and quantum optics”, said Ian Walmsley, OSA President,” He has been is an ambassador for the global optics community and has supported early careers of many now prominent researchers in our field”

“Professor Knight’s contributions to quantum science and to the international science community embody the spirit of the Herbert Walther Award,” Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society, said. “Along with our co-sponsor, DPG, we are proud to bestow the award in honor of his achievements.”

The award commemorates Max Planck Institute of Quantum Physics Professor Herbert Walther’s groundbreaking innovations in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as other wide-ranging contributions to the scientific community. The Herbert Walther Award, administered jointly by OSA and DPG, recognizes distinguished contributions in quantum optics and atomic physics as well as leadership in the international scientific community.

Knight, Senior Fellow in Residence, Kavli Royal Society International Centre, U.K., is a physicist renowned for pioneering research into quantum optics. His 40 years of work on the nonclassical properties of light and the theoretical underpinnings of quantum computing have established him as an influential figure within the wider UK physics community.

Knight is also professor and senior research investigator in the physics department at Imperial College, and chair of the Quantum Metrology Institute, National Physical Laboratory, both in the U.K. He retired in September 2010 as Deputy Rector, Research, at Imperial College where he was responsible for research strategy.  

After receiving his doctorate at Sussex University, Knight was a Research Associate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester and the Physics Department and SLAC at Stanford University. He joined Imperial College in 1979 first as a Lecturer, becoming a Professor in 1988. 

Knight, a dedicated volunteer, has served in many roles, including OSA president in 2004, Institute of Physics President (2011-2013), chair of the EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics Division, and editor of both the Journal of Modern Optics and Contemporary Physics. He is a Thomson-ISI Highly Cited Author. 

Knight has won numerous awards including the OSA Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize, the Thomas Young Medal and the Glazebrook Medal of the Institute of Physics, and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society.  He was named a U.K. Knights Bachelor on the 2005 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for his work in optical physics.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit:

About DPG
The Deutsche Physikalische Gesell­schaft e. V.  (DPG), headquartered near Bonn, is the oldest national society and largest physical society in the world. As a non-profit organization with 62,000 members, DPG promotes the transfer of knowledge within the scientific community through conferences, events and publications, and aims to open a window to physics for anyone who is curious to learn more. The physics society as well aims to encourage junior scientists and promote equal opportunities in science.

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