Since its opening in 1874 under the direction of James Clerk Maxwell, the prestigious position has been occupied by other notable scientists such as
Sir Alan Cook FRS FRSE (1979-1984),
Professor Archie Howie CBE FRS (1989-1997),
Professor Malcolm Longair† CBE FRS FRSE (1997-2005),
Professor Peter Littlewood FRS (2005-2011),
Professor James Stirling† CBE FRS (2011-2013), and
Professor Michael Andrew Parker (2013-2023).
Commenting on his appointment, Mete Atatüre said:
“I am incredibly honoured to be trusted in this role and to follow in the footsteps of Andy Parker and everyone who made the Cavendish Laboratory what it is today – a great place of scientific discovery, driven by the urge to question and challenge.
“We are carrying 150 years of scientific heritage, but we need to remain forward looking. As past successes have shaped our present, today’s dedication to curiosity will define tomorrow’s breakthroughs.
“The Department is on a continuous journey. That is what excites me and my colleagues, and what attracts people to us: it’s the stimulation, the sense of possibility, the innovation, and I am proud to be taking an even more active part in this today.
“I am hopeful that The Ray Dolby Centre and all our purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities will have a positive effect on our scientific as well as social culture, maximising interactions between colleagues, enabling us and our partners to do our very best work, and to work in new and sometimes surprising ways.
“Our main resource is people, and I will do everything I can to support our community through the new era that is coming soon.”
Mete Atatüre received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1996 from Bilkent University Physics Department in Turkey. He joined the Quantum Imaging Laboratory at Boston University for his PhD. From 2002 to 2007, he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Quantum Photonics Group at ETH Zurich. He joined the Cavendish Laboratory in June 2007 as a University Lecturer, becoming a Reader in 2011 before being promoted to a Professorship in 2015.
He is the scientific lead of the Quantum Optical Materials and Systems team (QOMS). His experimental research group investigates the quantum physics of light-matter interaction to implement quantum information networks and communication, as well as new applications in sensing.
He is also a co-founder and CSO of quantum-tech spin out, Nu Quantum Ltd. He dedicates significant time to science communication and public engagement on the role of science in society, scientific integrity, and achieving diversity & equality in science. Mete Atatüre is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America, Academia Europaea, and the Turkish Science Academy. He is the recipient of the IoP 2020 Thomas Young Medal.