I was born and educated in England. I completed my undergraduate and graduate courses in Oxford, and then took up various post-doctoral positions between 1990 and 1995, including a two-year period at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. I was a Royal Society University Research Fellow based in the Clarendon Laboratory, from 1995 to 1999, after which I took up my fellowship at Exeter. I was awarded the Maxwell Medal of the Institute of Physics for the year 2000.
I am now a University Lecturer, and a Fellow and Tutor in Physics at Exeter College. For the College, I teach most areas of physics, and I contribute primarily to Atomic and Laser Physics teaching for the University.
I am married, and among my interests are singing, hill walking and children’s Sunday school work.
I am interested in the basic principles of physics, especially quantum mechanics, relativity and thermodynamics. My research has been part experimental, part theoretical, concentrating on quantum physics, and the way it can be studied using precise laser manipulation of atoms. This has led me from laser cooling and trapping of atoms, and experimental observation of their wave-like behaviour, to the study of multi-particle quantum interference effects. The latter are now understood in terms of quantum information and quantum computing, the subject of my current work. I developed the theory of special states of a quantum computer called quantum error correcting codes, and I am now running an experimental project to realise these states in a set of a few electrically charged atoms, held by electric fields in high vacuum and manipulated by lasers.