Personal photo - Ken Peach

Professor Ken Peach

Denys Wilkinson Building
Keble Road

Phone: 01865 273312


I was born on the 5th November 1945 in Derby, and studied Physics at Edinburgh, graduating with a B.Sc. in 1967 and a Ph.D. in 1972 (thesis title: A Study of the charged decays of the KL).

I then had a series of postdoctoral positions in Edinburgh (including an SERC Advanced Fellowship, and two extended periods at CERN) until appointed to a Readership in 1992, and promoted to a Personal Chair in Particle Physics Experiments in 1996.

In September 1996, I moved to CERN as Deputy Leader of the experiments division, and in January 1998 became Director of Particle Physics at the CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, where I was also Director of e-Science from January 2004.

In 2005, I became the Director of the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science, jointly hosted by the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway University of London, and in January 2009 also became co-Director (with Professor Bleddyn Jones) of the Particle Therapy Cancer Research Institute (part of the James Martin 21st Century School) at the University of Oxford.

I have been a Fellow of the Institute of Physics since 1989, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh since 1999.

I shared the 2005 EPS-HEPP Prize as a member of the NA31 Collaboration for showing “for the first time direct CP violation in the decays of neutral K mesons”, and was awarded 2006 Rutherford Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics for my “contributions to high energy physics as a leader of key experiments at CERN investigating CP violation, and as Director of Particle Physics at CCLRC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory where [I] played a key role in reviving accelerator science for particle physics applications in the UK.”

My research career can be divided into 6 stages:

1967-1973:        I worked mainly at CERN on the decays of the KL using a Heavy Liquid Bubble Chamber, principally studying the semi-leptonic decays (πμν and πeν), and the charged 3-pion decay (π+ππ0). This experiment also made the first observation of the radiative decay KL πeνγ.

1972-1978:        I then did further work on the charged 3-pion decay of the KL, and on KLp scattering, using the CERN 2m Hydrogen Bubble Chamber, with data taken in 1972 and 1974. My main contribution was the measurement of the so-called “slope parameter” in the decay KLπ+ππ0, and in providing the absolute normalisation for the strong interaction cross-sections.

1975-1983:        I then did an experiment using electronic detectors (spark chambers and MWPC’s) using the Rutherford Multi-particle Spectrometer, studying intermediate energy π+p scattering, first at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and then, using a polarised target, at CERN.

1981-1996:        I then returned to CERN to carry out two experiments on CP-violation in neutral kaon decays (KL and KS), which not only established the dominant mechanism for CP-violation in the neutral kaon system as arising from quark mixing, but also made precision measurements and observations of many other neutral kaon decays.

1996-2005:        During these years, my main role was in the management of science, firstly at CERN and then at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, where I initiated a new programme of accelerator R&D in the UK, and in particular towards a neutrino factory. I was instrumental in starting two experiments – the MUSCAT experiment at TRIUMF, which measured accurately the multiple scattering distributions of low energy muons, and the Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Since 2005:       I was appointed the Director of the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science (JAI), which is a joint venture between the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway University of London. The JAI has a diverse programme of accelerator R&D, from the linear electron positron collider and neutrino factory to light sources, laser-plasma accelerators, the Large Hadron Collider and medical accelerators. My main interest is in the PAMELA projector, the design of a Particle Accelerator for MEdicaL Applications, specifically the treatment of certain forms of cancer using protons and light ions such as carbon (called Charged Particle Therapy of CPT). This led to a more general interest in CPT, and the formation (with Bleddyn Jones) of the Particle Therapy Cancer Research Institute in January 2009.