Interview with Sir Peter Knight

Sir Peter Knight is a British physicist, professor of quantum optics and senior research investigator at Imperial College London.

He has been showered with honours for his theoretical research work in physics but gave up experimental work after his doctorate at Sussex University to which he was attracted by its multi-discipline approach. He worked with some of the leaders in the development of lasers and other optical devices when in the USA from 1972-76 and returned to the UK and soon started a life-long association with Imperial College.

He is concerned at the rupture between scientists on the continent of Europe and the UK caused by Brexit. He had been a visiting professor and scholar at two continental universities. He has advised the government on defence technology; was the first chief scientific advisor to the UK National Physical Laboratory; and he continues to travel the globe contributing to the development of optical physics.

Sir Peter thinks that a powerful quantum computer is a decade away. Which will give us the time to completely re-engineer the Internet whose security would be broken by its power. Research into quantum computing has already yielded results in the form of sensors which are used in medical diagnostics. Such a computer will also provide the power needed for AI applications.

He was knighted in the Queen’s 2005 Birthday Honours.

Interviewed by Richard Sharpe 17 April 2023 on Zoom.