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Tim Birks
Tim Birks
Philip Salmon
Philip Salmon

Internal News - 10 January 2006

Personal Chairs for Tim Birks & Philip Salmon

Two members of the Physics Department, Tim Birks and Philip Salmon, have been appointed professors. Both take up personal chairs.

Professor Birks is a founder member of the Photonics and Photonic Materials Group which has led the way in developing photonic crystal fibres, now a major new area within physics. These optical fibres are able to harness the power of light in many new ways, enhancing existing applications and leading to many new ones.

The work is expected to have a major impact in many areas of engineering and technology, including light sources, optical telecommunications, ultra-violet light and x-ray generation, atomic and quantum physics and astronomical imaging.

Professor Birks completed his PhD at the University of Limerick in Ireland in 1990 and has worked on photonic crystal fibres since 1994, originally as a post doctoral scholar at the University of Southampton before coming to Bath in 1996. He has co-authored over 160 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and conferences.

Professor Salmon’s first degree and doctorate were completed at the University of Bristol and he came to Bath in 1998 after working at the Universities of Exeter and East Anglia.

He is a founder member of the Liquid and Amorphous Materials Group, which aims to give a fundamental understanding of liquids and glasses by studying the position and motion of their particles at the atomic level.

The group applies a wide range of sophisticated experimental techniques to study the structure and dynamics of a variety of liquid and glassy materials. Recent work has suggested that different types of network-forming glass may all have similar atomic properties, an insight that might make it possible to construct new materials with applications for fibre lasers and amplifiers.


Professors are divided into two groups -

When someone is appointed to a personal chair, or an established chair, they use the title of professor. Therefore, professor is both a grade (the highest grade for academic staff) and a title.

In general, if a professor moves on to another University it will be for another professorial post. When a professor retires, they may be (but are not always) given the title 'emeritus professor'.