Professor Jim Al-Khalili

Professor of Physics, Professor of Public Engagement in Science

Qualifications: BSc, PhD (1989, Surrey) CPhys FInstP FRAS Hon.FBAASc

Phone: Work: 01483 68 6808
Room no: 08 BB 03

Further information


Jim Al-Khalili obtained his PhD in theoretical nuclear physics from Surrey in 1989. He spent two years as an SERC Postdoctoral Fellow at University College London before returning to Surrey in 1991. He was appointed lecturer in 1992 and, in 1994, awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship for five years following which he reverted to a full time lecturer in the Department at Surrey. He was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2000 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2001. In 2003, he was elected onto the Council of the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science). Along with his teaching and research, the considerable time he spends on science engagement activities and popularising science has culminated in his promotion in October 2006 to a newly created chair in the Public Engagement in Science. He is author of several popular science books and appears regularly on radio and television. In 2007, he was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for Science Communication. Read more here .

Research Interests

Al-Khalili's research interests lie mainly in the field of theoretical nuclear physics. This has mostly been in the development of few-body quantum scattering methods to study nuclear reaction mechanisms and nuclear structure, particularly as applied to the study of exotic nuclei produced by radioactive beam facilities around the world. He has pioneered the application of few-body Glauber methods in nuclear scattering and reactions at intermediate and high energies. Current interests span a wide range of reaction energies from the study of the light nuclei using electromagnetic probes such as electron scattering and photo-induced pion production reactions, to reactions of astrophysical interest. Over the past few years, he has become interested in decay studies of exotic nuclei and proton radioactivity.

Research Collaborations

Al-Khalili collaborates with colleagues, and jointly supervises postdocs and research students, within the nuclear theory group at Surrey on a range of topics of current interest. Active collaboration with theorists and experimentalists in Europe, the US and Canada, in particular where relating to research on exotic nuclear beams at the major labs. He is the theory coordinator for the R3B collaboration at GSI. Collaborates with PDRA DR Qiang Zhao at Surrey and Professor Frank Close (Oxford) on problems in hadron physics. Collaborates with both theorists and experimentalists at TRIUMF Lab, Vancouver, and Jyvaskyla Lab in Finland on decay studies of exotic nuclei, particularly relating to nuclear astrophysics Collaborates with both physicists and Microbiologists on topics relating to quantum effects in biological systems.

Further details can be found on my personal web page.


  • Level: HE1 – Space, Time & Relativity (Module code PHY1022). This first year course introduces the field of Special Relativity along with a few lectures at the end on General Relativity. Go to website containing lecture notes and other course resources.
  • Level: HE3 – Mathematical Methods (Module code PHY3020). This final year 10 credit module covers topics such as linear vector spaces, line and surface integrals, complex variable theory and complex (contour) integration methods. No lecture notes available yet as teaching this course for first time in 07/08.
  • Level: Masters – Theoretical Physics (PHYM001). This 30 credit M-level course contains within it the Mathematical Methods module, the module on nonlinear physics and a 10 credit Problem Solving component.

Departmental Duties

Coordinator of Departmental Marketing and Outreach
Member of Board of Studies


  • "Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines", Institute of Physics Publishing, 1999.
  • "Scattering", co-author, with Dr J.A. Tostevin, of chapter in multi-volume reference book edited by P. Sabatier and E.R. Pike, 2001.
  • "Collins Encyclopaedia of the Universe", chapter on quantum mechanics as part of large general interest reference book on
    astronomy, Harper-Collins, 2001.
  • "Nucleus: A Trip into the Heart of Matter", R.S. Mackintosh, J.S. Al-Khalili, B. Jonson and T. Pena, Johns Hopkins University Press,
  • "Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed", Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2003.
  • "Lecture Notes in Physics: Nuclear Physics with Exotic Beams", Eds. J.S. Al-Khalili and E. Roeckl, Springer-Verlag, Volumes I and II
    (Volume III published in Summer 2007)

Television and Radio

For an update on Jim's media work, visit his personal website at

Page Owner: phs1ja
Page Created: Monday 10 August 2009 11:20:32 by lb0014
Last Modified: Wednesday 29 October 2014 15:11:37 by pg0016
Expiry Date: Wednesday 10 November 2010 11:18:59
Assembly date: Mon Apr 27 18:02:07 BST 2015
Content ID: 11647
Revision: 9
Community: 1256