Peter Hirsch

Sir Peter Bernhard Hirsch HonFRMS FRS (born 16 January 1925) is a figure in British materials science who has made fundamental contributions to the application of transmission electron microscopy to metals.[3][4] Hirsch attended the Sloane School, Chelsea and St Catharine's College, Cambridge. In 1946 he joined the Crystallography Department of the Cavendish to work for a PhD on work hardening in metals under W.H. Taylor and Lawrence Bragg.[5] He subsequently carried out work, which is still cited, on the structure of coal.

Sir Peter Hirsch FRS
Born16 January 1925 (age 96)
Alma materChrist's College, Cambridge
St Catharine's College, Cambridge
Known forTransmission Electron Microscopy
AwardsFranklin J. Clamer Medal (1970)
Hughes Medal (1973)
Royal Medal (1977)
Wolf Prize in Physics (1983/4)
Holweck Meda (1988)
Lomonosov Gold Medal of Russian Academy of Sciences (2005)
Fellow of the Royal Society
Scientific career
FieldsMaterials Science
InstitutionsUniversity of Oxford
ThesisAn X-ray micro-beam technique  (1951)
Doctoral advisorW.H. Taylor[1]
Doctoral studentsMichael J Whelan[1]
InfluencesWilliam Lawrence Bragg
InfluencedMark Miodownik[2]

In the mid-1950s he pioneered the application of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to metals and developed in detail the theory needed to interpret such images. He was a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge from 1960 to 1966 and was elected an Honorary Fellow of Christ's in 1978. In 1965, with Howie, Whelan, Pashley and Nicholson, he published the text Electron microscopy of thin crystals.[6][7] The following year he moved to Oxford to take up the Isaac Wolfson Chair in Metallurgy, succeeding William Hume-Rothery. He held this post until his retirement in 1992, building up the Department of Metallurgy (now the Department of Materials) into a world-renowned centre. Among many other honours, he was awarded the 1983 Wolf Foundation Prize in physics. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1963 and knighted in 1975.

Hirsch was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2001 for experimentally establishing the role of dislocations in plastic flow and of electron microscopy as a tool for materials research. He is also a fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford.


  1. ^ a b "Peter Hirsch" . 11 February 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ "BBC Four - How It Works, Metal" .
  3. ^ "Personal Homepages Professor Sir Peter Hirsch FRS Emeritus Professor Department of Materials Oxford Materials" . Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
  4. ^ Wilkinson, A. J.; Hirsch, P. B. (1997). "Electron diffraction based techniques in scanning electron microscopy of bulk materials". Micron. 28 (4): 279–308. arXiv:1904.05550 . doi:10.1016/S0968-4328(97)00032-2 . S2CID 118944816 .
  5. ^ Kelly, Anthony (1 January 2013). "Lawrence Bragg's interest in the deformation of metals and 1950–1953 in the Cavendish – a worm's-eye view" . Acta Crystallographica Section A. 69 (1): 16–24. doi:10.1107/s0108767312034356 . ISSN 0108-7673 . PMID 23250056 .
  6. ^ P. Hirsch, A. Howie, R. Nicholson, D. W. Pashley and M. J. Whelan (1965/1977) Electron microscopy of thin crystals (Butterworths/Krieger, London/Malabar FL) ISBN 0-88275-376-2
  7. ^ Hirsch, P. B.; Howie, A.; Nicholson, R. B.; Pashley, D. W.; Whelan, M. J.; Marton, L. (1966). "Electron microscopy". Physics Today. 19 (10): 93. Bibcode:1966PhT....19j..93H . doi:10.1063/1.3047787 .


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