Michael Berry (physicist)

Sir Michael Victor Berry, FRS, FRSE, FRSA (born 14 March 1941), is a mathematical physicist at the University of Bristol, England.

Sir Michael Berry

Michael Berry in 2nd International Advanced School on Frontiers in Optics & Photonics[1]
3 September 2014, Ashtarak, Armenia
Michael Victor Berry

(1941-03-14) 14 March 1941
Alma materUniversity of Exeter
University of St. Andrews
Known forBerry phase
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Bristol
ThesisThe diffraction of light by ultrasound (1965)
Doctoral advisorRobert B. Dingle[2]
Doctoral students[[20, including Jenny Nelson, FRS, Jon Keating, FRS]

He is known for the Berry phase, a phenomenon observed e.g. in quantum mechanics and optics, as well as Berry connection and curvature. He specialises in semiclassical physics (asymptotic physics, quantum chaos), applied to wave phenomena in quantum mechanics and other areas such as optics.

Education and early life

The son of a London taxi driver and a dressmaker,[3] Berry has a BSc in physics from the University of Exeter and a PhD from the University of St. Andrews.[4]

Career and research

He has spent his whole career at the University of Bristol: research fellow, 1965–67; lecturer, 1967–74; reader, 1974–78; Professor of Physics, 1978–88; Royal Society Research Professor 1988-2006. Since 2006 he is Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus) at Bristol University.


  • Diffraction of Light by Ultrasound, 1966
  • Principles of Cosmology and Gravitation, 1976; 2nd edition. 1989; pbk[5]
  • About 395 research papers, book reviews, etc., on physics[6]

Awards and honours

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1982[7] and knighted in 1996.[8] From 2006 to 2012 he was Editor of the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Berry has been given the following prizes and awards:[9]


  1. 2nd International Advanced School on Frontiers in Optics & Photonics, 30 August – 5 September, 2014, AshtarakYerevan, Armenia
  2. Michael Berry at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. Rubinstein, William D.; Jolles, Michael; Rubinstein, Hilary L. (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 87. ISBN 9781403939104.
  4. "Academic History of Professor Sir Michael Berry". University of Bristol. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  5. Longair, M. S. (1991). "Book review: Principles of cosmology and gravitation by M. V. Sims". Space Science Reviews. 56 (1–2): 246. Bibcode:1991SSRv...56..246L. doi:10.1007/BF00178416.
  6. "Professor Sir Michael Berry: Publications". University of Bristol, UK. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  7. "Fellows Directory". The Royal Society. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  8. "The London Gazette" (PDF). HMSO. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  9. "Professor Sir Michael Berry: Prizes and Awards". University of Bristol, UK. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  10. "LMS-NZMS Forder and Aitken Lectureships | London Mathematical Society". www.lms.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  11. Berry, Michael (2003). "Making light of mathematics: 75th Gibbs Lecture". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.). 40 (2): 229–237. doi:10.1090/S0273-0979-03-00972-8. MR 1962297.
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