Professor Michael Charlton

Elected: 2011

Area(s): Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine & Mathematics

Specialist Subject(s): Physics, Physics - Atomic

Professor of Experimental Physics , Swansea University

Mike studied physics at University College London (UCL) completing his PhD there on the interactions of low energy positrons in 1980. He won a Science and Engineering Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1982 followed by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 1983, before becoming a Reader in Physics at UCL in 1991. In 1999 he moved to a Chair in Swansea University.  At Swansea he has been Head of the Department of Physics (2001-2007 and 2012-2016) and of the School of Physical Sciences (2005-2007). He held an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Senior Research Fellowship from 2007-12.

Mike has made many seminal contributions to the study of atomic systems that include antiparticles, and in particular antihydrogen (the counterpart of the familiar hydrogen atom), the positron-antiproton bound state. He was a founder member of the ATHENA collaboration that first produced (2002) the anti-atom under controlled conditions at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, CERN. More recently, with the ALPHA grouping, his team have led initiatives culminating in trapping of the anti-atom, and in studies of some of its most important spectroscopic features. He has published over 200 research articles and a monograph describing his work. He was a co-recipient of the 2011 American Physical Society James Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research for work leading to antihydrogen trapping.

Mike has delivered a number of named lectures, including the Rochester (Durham, 2010), Fröhlich (Liverpool, 2008) and Larmor (Queen’s, Belfast, 2007) lectures. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and was elected as an Inaugural Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in 2011. He is currently a member of the Council of the Learned Society, and was elected its Vice President (Science, Technology and Medicine) in May 2018.