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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
Portrait of Andy Parker smiling on a dark purple background

Head of the Cavendish Laboratory Professor Andy Parker MA, DPhil(Oxon), FInstP, CPhys, has been elected as the next Master of Peterhouse from July 2023.

Professor Andy Parker is a Professor of High Energy Physics. He began his long association with the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) as a summer student, before starting a PhD in Particle Physics at University College London in 1978. He was a member of the CERN staff from 1982 to 1989 and was appointed as a Lecturer at the Cavendish in 1989. He was made a Professor in 2004 and served as Deputy Head of Department (Finance and Resources) from 2010-2013 before becoming Head of Department in 2013.

Andy Parker has a worldwide reputation in the physics community. He was the project leader for one of the major detector systems used by the ATLAS Collaboration at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. The collaboration is one of the world’s largest scientific endeavours, with over 3000 participants, and Professor Parker has served in a number of leadership roles over the years, including six years on the Executive Board, and as the UK national Physics Coordinator. His research has focussed on seeking physics processes beyond those covered by the current “standard model” of particle physics, in particular supersymmetric particles and additional space dimensions. He began to apply software solutions from particle physics to radiotherapy, and this has led to a long collaboration with the Oncology Department at Addenbrooke's Hospital and a number of publications in that field. This work is now embedded in the national Radnet consortium. He has also led small interdisciplinary projects on artificial photosynthesis and muon tomography.

He has served on numerous committees for CERN, the UK Research Councils, international funding agencies and the University. He currently chairs the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future Circular Collider planned by CERN and chairs the UK Dark Matter R&D Oversight Board for STFC. He is a Science Partner with Ahren Investment Capital. He has been awarded the Pilkington Prize for teaching, and is an honorary Professor at the British-Kazakh Technical University.

As Head of the Department for Physics, he led the project to design and build the Ray Dolby Centre, a new home for the Department, which contains state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching. He secured a large capital grant from the Government, so that the Cavendish will operate as a National Facility for physics, supporting researchers across the country.

Andy Parker’s term at the Cavendish will end in September 2023, when Professor Mete Atatüre will take over as the Head of Department.