Donald Perkins (1925-2022)

St Catherine’s College is saddened to share the news that Professor Donald Perkins CBE FRS, Emeritus Fellow, has died aged 97.

Professor Perkins was a physicist and a Fellow of St Catherine’s from 1965 until his death.

He made significant contributions to physics, including being the first to observe the nuclear capture of a negative pi meson.

Perkins undertook his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Imperial College London, receiving his PhD in 1948. He then took up a position at Bristol University, later being promoted to the post of reader in 1956.

During the mid-1950s he performed research at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (now the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) in the US, and in the early 1960s at CERN (the European Organization of Nuclear Research).

In 1965 he became Professor of Elementary Particle Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine’s.

He retained these posts until his retirement in 1993, at which point he was elected as an Emeritus Fellow at St Catherine’s.

Throughout his career he wrote a number of books on his subject and in recognition of his contribution to physics, Professor Perkins received numerous accolades.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1966 and awarded a CBE in the 1991 New Year Honours.

He also received the Guthrie Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics in 1979, the Holweck Prize of the Société Française de Physique in 1992, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1997, and the High Energy and Particle Physics Prize of the European Physical Society in 2001.

The College’s flag is flying at half-mast to mark his passing.