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Professor Sir Colin Humphreys 

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Materials Science

Fellow Type


Colin obtained his BSc (Physics) at Imperial College and his PhD (Physics) at Cambridge, studying at Churchill College. He became a University Lecturer at Oxford (Materials Science), before moving to Liverpool to be Professor and Head of the Department of Materials Engineering. He returned to Cambridge to be the Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science and Head of the Materials Science department. He retired from Cambridge and became Professor of Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London. His research fields include electron microscopy, high-temperature aerospace materials, semiconductors (particularly GaN-based materials and devices) and recently graphene and graphene devices.

He has received a number of awards, including the Robert Franklin Mehl Gold Medal (TMS, USA), European Materials Gold Medal (FEMS), Platinum Medal and Rosenhain Medal (IOMMM), Kelvin Medal (IOP), Henry Clifton Sorby Award (IMS, USA), Silver Medal (RSA), Hon DSc (Leicester), Hon FRMS, FCGI, FRS, FREng, CBE and knighthood. He currently chairs a Royal Society Committee selecting new Fellows and is a member of the Royal Society Science in Emergency Tasking: COVID (SET-C) committee.

He co-founded two spin-out companies on low-cost GaN-on-Si LEDs for lighting, which were acquired by Plessey. He recently co-founded a graphene device company, Paragraf, employing fifty people, its first product being a graphene Hall-effect sensor. He is interested in the chronology of ancient events and his book, The Miracles of Exodus (Harper), has been translated into Portuguese, German, and Japanese. Another book, The Mystery of the Last Supper (CUP), has been translated into Russian, German, Portuguese, Japanese and Greek.

Colin is married to Sarah and they have two daughters, Kate, a clinical psychologist, and Elizabeth, an astronomer.