Bachelor of Science, Queen's University, Belfast, 1970. Doctor of Philosophy, Queen's University, Belfast, 1973. Doctor of Laws (honorary), University Dundee, 2002.
Doctor of Science (honorary), Trinity College, Dublin, 2005.
He is the Wardlaw Professor of Physics at Street Andrews University. He began lecturing at Imperial College London in 1973, rising to Reader before moving to Street Andrews University as full Professor in 1985. From 1988 he was Head of Physics and Astronomy and the University.
He worked with Miles Padgett and Alan James Duncan to create optical instruments to measure the Orbital angular momentum of light.
The Society elected him their first Chief Advisor on Science. He was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2001.
Fellow Royal Society Edinburgh and London, Optical Society of America, Institute Physics. Member Rotary.
Married Barbara Anne Brown, September 20, 1979. Children: Hannah Margaret, Ruth Anne, Rachael Annette.