Dr B. King

Dr B. King

Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Lecturer and researcher in theoretical physics and Final-year senior personal tutor.

My lecturing is centred around applied mathematics, in particular classical mechanics, ODEs, vector calculus and computational mathematics. I teach modules in the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics, and in the School of Mechanical and Marine Engineering.

My research is focused on strong-field QED. This involves the study of light and charged particles in extremely intense electromagnetic fields such as one would find in the most intense laser pulses or in the very strong fields of magnetised neutron stars.


  • Doktor der Naturwissenschaften (Dr. rer. nat.)
  • Universität Heidelberg (2010) 
  • Master in Science: Physics with Theoretical Physics
  • Imperial College London (2006)



Teaching interests

MATH3606 - Classical and Quantum Mechanics (Module Leader)

This module introduces advanced classical mechanics and the key ideas of quantum mechanics to students with a mathematics background. An overarching theme will be the key role of symmetry, both for classical motion and quantum behaviour.

MATH3628 - Maths Project (Supervisor)

A year-long, 40-credit project module, in which students work one-to-one with a member of staff to gain an in-depth understanding in a mathematical area of their interest. Previous projects supervised include: i) Schwarzschild Black Holes; ii) Henon-Heiles nonlinear dynamics and chaos; iii) Vacuum energy and the Casimir Effect in (1+1)D; iv) Dynamical symmetries in Kepler orbits and the Hydrogen atom

MATH2604 - Mathematical Methods and Applications (Module Leader)

Vector calculus is extended to higher dimensions and applied to a range of important scientific problems primarily from classical mechanics and cosmology. Differential and integral calculus is applied to the solution of differential equations and the orthogonal functions bases are constructed. The crucial mathematical concepts of integral transforms (Fourier and Laplace) and Fourier series are introduced.

MATH2603 - Ordinary Differential Equations (Lecturer)

MATH257 - Computer Aided Mathematics (Module Leader) (2014-2018)

Students will be taught advanced mathematical techniques and their application using the MATLAB computer software package to solve engineering mathematics problems. The module will also introduce the students to the theoretical fundamentals of finite element analysis.



Research interests

Strong-field Quantum Electrodynamics:

  • Pair-creation and nonlinear Compton scattering in laser backgrounds
  • Electromagnetic cascades in external fields
  • Real photon-photon scattering
  • Methodologies for computational simulation
When electromagnetic fields become very strong, calculations become difficult as the standard method of using perturbation theory can no longer be used and the processes are therefore more difficult to describe. However, it also means that new and interesting phenomena can emerge, such as light-by-light scattering, which is forbidden classically. It is also thought that studying strong-field processes can help solve difficult outstanding problems in QCD (Quantum Chromodynamics) and Cosmology. The next generation of forthcoming laser facilities are hoped to be able to finally probe strong-field QED processes.

Research Grants

2018-2020 Joint-PI: EPSRC Standard Grant, Grant No: EP/S010319/1    £450,000
2016-2018 PI: EPSRC First Grant Scheme, Grant No: EP/P005217/1       £125,000
2016     PI: Royal Society International Exchange Scheme 2015/R         £2,000

I am a member of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences



A list of my published research can be found at the following pages:

Google Scholar Citations



Reports & invited lectures

13/09/2021  "Higher fidelity benchmarking of the nonlinear Compton and Breit-Wheeler processes in a laser pulse", ExHILP 2021, Jena (online)
22/07/2021  "Pulse Envelope Interference Effects in the Nonlinear Compton and Breit-Wheeler Processes", LPHYS'21 (online)
08/02/2021  "Strong-Field QED aims at the LUXE experiment", UK High Power Laser Christmas Meeting (online)
19/01/2021   "The locally monochromatic approximation and the LUXE experiment", The Schwinger Effect and Strong-Field Physics Workshop, YITP, Kyoto Japan (online)
06/11/2020    "High Intensity QED and LUXE", Classical and Quantum Physics in Extreme Light Fields, international seminar dedicated to Nikolay Narozhny’s 80th birthday, Moscow (online)
04/11/2020    "Laser polarisation and the Breit-Wheeler process", LUXE meeting
13/05/2020    "From QED to rates @ LUXE", LUXE Workshop 2020
03/09/2019   "Improved approximations for nonlinear Breit-Wheeler and nonlinear Compton scattering at intermediate intensities", ExHILP 2019, Stanford, US
16/07/2019   "The High Intensity Frontier of QED", Graduate School CAEP, Beijing, China
11/07/2019   "Decay of Massive Axion-Like-Particles in Quasi-Static Backgrounds", LPHYS' 19, Gyeongju, South Korea
30/04/2019  "Vacuum birefringence with x-rays", Vacuum Fluctuations at Nanoscale and Gravitation: theory and experiments, Sardinia, Italy
16/04/2019  "Massive pseudoscalar production at LUXE",    DESY, Germany
09/04/2019  "Locally Constant Field Approximation for High-Intensity QED", HI-Jena, Jena, Germany
22/08/2018  "Massive scalar and pseudoscalar production in electron-laser collisions", SQED Workshop, DESY, Germany
17/07/2018  "Photon-photon scattering in the collision of three laser pulses"   LPHYS '18, Nottingham, UK
17/07/2018  "Trident process in a constant crossed field"   LPHYS '18, Nottingham, UK
09/07/2018  "QED Overview (HIBEF Workshop)"   HZDR, Dresden, Germany
11/04/2018  "Measuring vacuum polarisation using high power lasers"   HPLSE2018, Suzhou, China
29/11/2017  "Laser-based QED in intense backgrounds: ethos and recent developments"   Imperial College London, UK
08/09/2017  "Vacuum birefringence in high-energy laser-electron collisions",  ExHILP 2017, Lisbon, Portugal
15/07/2017  "The Intensity Frontier and High Power Lasers",   NUDT, Changsha, China
12/07/2017  "The Intensity Frontier and High Power Lasers",   SIOM, Shanghai, China
10/07/2017  "Strong-field QED in Intense lasers (3 lectures)",   NUDT, HEDP Summer School, Changsha, China
20/04/2017  "Vacuum birefringence in high-energy laser-electron collisions",   LNPC '17, Yokohama, Japan
21/12/2016  "Vacuum birefringence in high-energy laser-electron collisions",   UK High Power Laser Christmas Meeting, Abingdon, UK
16/11/2016  "Strong-Field QED in High-Power Lasers",   Helmholtz Institute, Jena, Germany
13/07/2016  "Beyond Volkov: Solving the Second-Order Klein-Gordon Equation",   LPHYS' 16, Yerevan, Armenia
30/05/2016  "Strong laser particle physics",   CARDC (Chinese Aerodynamic Research and Development Center), Mianyang, China
16/12/2015  "Shock wave and high harmonic generationin the vacuum plasma",   UK High Power Laser Christmas Meeting, Abingdon, UK
25/11/2015  "Laser-based strong-field QED (under construction)",   Plasma Seminar, Imperial College London, UK
14/09/2015  "High intensity lasers & strong-field QED",   Oxcheds seminar, AWE, UK
24/08/2015  "Vacuum high-harmonic generation in the shock regime and photon-photon scattering dynamics",   LPHYS' 15, Shanghai, China
17/08/2015  "High intensity lasers & strong-field QED",   CAEP, Mianyang, China
22/07/2015  "Vacuum high harmonic generation in the shock regime",   EXHILP 15, Heidelberg, Germany
08/05/2015  "What's so anomalous about anomalous x-ray pulsars?",   Plymouth Astronomical Society, Plymouth
27/04/2015  "Strong-field QED & high intensity lasers",   Atomic and Laser Physics Seminar, University of Oxford, UK
22/04/2015  "Vacuum high harmonic generation in the shock regime",   Theoretical Physics Seminar, Plymouth University, UK
15/04/2015  "Vacuum high harmonic generation in the shock regime",   Chalmers, Gothenburg, Sweden

Conferences organised

2020   LUXE Theory Workshop (online)

Other academic activities

PhD Examinations

- 07/05/2020, External Examiner, Ramy Aboushelbaya, University of Oxford

"Orbital Angular Momentum in High-Intensity Laser Interactions"

- 20/04/2019, Examiner, Benjamin Wettervik, Chalmers University of Technology

"Modelling of laser plasma interaction with applications to particle acceleration
and radiation generation"

- 19/09/2016, Zweitgutachter, Patrick Boehl, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

"Vacuum Harmonic Generation in Slowly Varying
Electromagnetic Backgrounds"