Francis (Frank) Edwin Close was born in 1945 at Peterborough, Northamptonshire. He was a pupil at King’s School, Peterborough (then a grammar school), where he was taught Latin by John Dexter, brother of author Colin Dexter. He took a BSc in Physics at St Andrews University graduating in 1967, before researching for a DPhil in Theoretical Physics at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the supervision of Richard Dalitz, which he was awarded in 1970.
In addition to his scientific research, he is known for his lectures and writings making science intelligible to a wider audience.
From Oxford he went to Stanford University in California for two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In 1973 he went to the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire and then to CERN in Switzerland from 1973–5. He joined the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire in 1975 as a research physicist and was latterly Head of Theoretical Physics Division from 1991. He headed the communication and public education activities at CERN from 1997 to 2000. From 2001, he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at Oxford. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham from 1996–2002.
Honours and awards
He became a Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1991.
The Institute of Physics awarded him its 1996 Kelvin Medal and Prize, which is given “for outstanding contributions to the public understanding of physics”.
From 1993–9, he was Vice-President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
He was appointed an OBE in 2000.
Since 2003, he has been Chairman of the British team (BPhO) in the International Physics Olympiad, based at the University of Leicester.
2013 Awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize.