David Saxon

Biography of David Saxon

David Saxon
David Saxon

David Saxon (1945-) is Emeritus Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He was Kelvin Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1990 to 2008 and Head of Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1996-2001. He was Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences from 2002 to 2008.

Born in Stockport in 1945, Saxon was educated at Manchester Grammar School in classics and science. He was a Brackenbury Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford 1963-68 winning the University Prize for Physics Finals in 1966. He graduated (BA Hons 1st) in 1966 and DSc in 1989. As Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford he was awarded MA and DPhil in 1970. His DPhil researches took him to Paris and Berkeley, where in both cases his arrival was marked by the onset of riots.

He worked as an Oxford University Research Officer from 1969-70. In 1970 he moved to Columbia University, New York as a Research Associate. Working at the as yet incomplete Fermilab near Chicago, he pioneered the identification of outgoing electrons and muons in high-intensity proton reactions, now a standard technique. Moving to Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 1974 he led a research team for 16 years, initially on spin-correlations in meson-baryon scattering; from 1978-86 as part of the TASSO collaboration at the DESY electron-positron collider in Hamburg, and then studying electron-proton collisions in the ZEUS collaboration (43 institutes from ten countries).

Saxon has served as a Council member for two Research Councils, Particle Physics and Astronomy (PPARC) and Central Laboratories (CCLRC), chairing the PPARC Public Understanding of Science panel, and has been on panels and committees for five others (SERC, EPSRC, STFC, RCUK and MRC), as well as a Research Assessment Exercise Physics panel. He has served on international committees at DESY and ad personam as a member of the CERN (Geneva) Scientific Policy Committee. He has chaired international working groups for the European Committee for Future Accelerators and served on the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Commission on Particle Physics. He has advised the University of Trento (Italy) over a period on research policy and been external examiner for Physics Finals in Oxford. He was a member of a panel reviewing the British Council's Science Policy as well as serving on its award panels.

In Scotland he has been Research Awards Convener of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has chaired the Institute of Physics in Scotland, as well as the Governing Committee of the Scottish Universities Summer Schools in Physics.

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1993 and was awarded an OBE (for services to science) in 2005.

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David Saxon

Born 1945.
University Link: Faculty Dean, Professor
GU Degree:
Occupation categories: physicists
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Record last updated: 11th Feb 2010

University Connections

University Roles

  • Faculty Dean, 2002-2008
  • Professor

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