Distinguished physicist and University Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jonathan Knight has been elected to the Royal Society for his exceptional contribution to science.

Professor Knight, whose research focuses on photonics and optical physics, was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials at the University as its founding director. Much of his research has centred on developing photonic crystal fibres – new technologies for fibre design and fibre optics that have had diverse applications from healthcare to atomic physics.

A former Head of the Department of Physics at Bath from 2008 to 2013, and Associate Dean for Research (Science) at the University from 2013 to 2015, Professor Knight’s research has had significant international impact. He was winner of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2009), the Institute of Physics Optics and Photonics Division Prize (2012), the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics (2018 – with Bath colleague Birks and former colleague Russell), and a Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellowship for Distinguished Scientists (2019).

Over an impressive career, which started with a PhD from the University of Cape Town and included spells as a Research Fellow at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and at the Optoelectronics Research Centre in Southampton, he has also published over 200 peer-reviewed journals in top-flight international journals.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Fellows and Foreign Members are elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of excellence in science. Each candidate is considered on his or her own merits and can be proposed from any sector of the scientific community.

Commenting on his award, he said: “This recognition is a tribute to the quality of the research on this topic that has taken place at the University of Bath. It’s a great honour to be awarded in this way.”

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian White, added: “This is a wonderful accolade for Jonathan in recognition of the important contributions he has made to science throughout his career and the particular impacts he has had in the field of photonics. That much of this research took place through the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials at Bath speaks volumes about the quality of the research and the dedication of our researchers here at the University.”

Dr Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, says: “Over the course of the Royal Society’s vast history, it is our Fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realised: to use science for the benefit of humanity.

“This year’s newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society embody this, being drawn from diverse fields of enquiry—epidemiology, geometry, climatology—at once disparate, but also aligned in their pursuit and contributions of knowledge about the world in which we live, and it is with great honour that I welcome them as Fellows of the Royal Society.”