Donald Hill Perkins

Donald Hill Perkins CBE FRS (born 1925) is a British physicist and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Oxford. He achieved great success in the field of particle physics and is also known for his books.

Perkins was born in 1925 and educated at Imperial College London. In 1945 he received his B.Sc. and 1948, a Ph.D. From 1949 he worked at Bristol University and in 1955/56 at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley. In 1956 he received the post of reader in Bristol University. In 1963/64 he conducted research at CERN. In 1965 he became Oxford professor of elementary particle physics. There he built, along with Ken W. Allen, the new Department of Nuclear Physics. In 1976/77 and 1983/84 he returned to CERN.

In 1998 he retired and became Emeritus Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford.



Perkins' earliest achievements include the discovery of the negative pion in cosmic radiation. At Berkeley, he worked with accelerators on K-mesons and the annihilation of protons and antiprotons, at CERN in neutrino scattering experiments.

He made important pioneering discoveries in regard to the weak neutral current (Gargamelle experiment) and the experimental verification of quantum chromodynamics. In 1982 he explored the possible proton decay, and found a first indication of neutrino oscillations.

In the applied field, he worked on the design of the HERA storage ring at DESY in 1961 and worked on cancer therapy with pions.

Perkins in 1959 published his first textbook, together with C. F Powell and P. Fowler, on the theme of the emulsion technique applied to cosmic rays, nuclear, and particle physics. His Introduction to High Energy Physics is a global standard work on particle physics. Most recently he published in 2003 Particle Astrophysics.


Perkins was awarded honorary doctorates in Bristol and the University of Sheffield. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1966. In 1979 he received the Guthrie Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics, in 1992 the Holweck Prize of the Institut Français de Physique, in 1997, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society [1] and in 2001 the High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society. He gave numerous guest lectures at universities in Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, Hawaii and Victoria and the 2004 Wolfgang Paul Lecture in Bonn.

External linksEdit

  • Scientific publications of Donald Hill Perkins on INSPIRE-HEP
  • "Donald Perkins" (in German). 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-06-11. (short biography on the occasion of the Wolfgang-Paul-Lecture at the University of Bonn)