Education and Early Career

Peter Thomas Kirstein was born in Berlin, Germany in 1933, but moved to the UK in 1937. He was educated at Highgate School in London. He went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge U. He received a BA from Cambridge U in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering (1954), with further degrees in Electrical Engineering of MSc (1955) and PhD (1958) from Stanford U and a DSc (1970) from London U. His PhD thesis was entitled “A solution to the equations of space-charge flow by the method of the separation of variables”.

In 1958, he became Lecturer at Stanford U in microwave engineering. In 1959 he joined the Centre of Nuclear Research in Geneva as an accelerator physicist. During his time there he spent six months in the  at the Joint Centre for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. In 1963 he joined the European Office of the US General Electric Corporate Research Centre responsible for evaluating European scientific research. After joining the University of London, he continued this activity on a consulting basis for a further 25 years.

Academic Career  

Peter Kirstein joined the University of London Institute of Computer Science in 1967, first as Reader and then Professor of Computer Communications Systems. He transferred to the new UCL Department of Statistics and Computer Science in 1973, then setting up and becoming its first Head of the Computer Science Department (1980-1994). He continued as Director of Research in that department for some years, and remains as an active Professor.

Awards and Professional Organisations

He has received many awards including:

  • Internet Pioneer of the Internet Society (2012)
  • Honorary Foreign Fellow of the US National Academy of Engineering (2009)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2006)
  • Honorary Fellow of UCL (2006)
  • CBE (2003)
  • Internet Society’s Postal Award (2003)
  • Honorary Foreign Fellow of the US Academy of Arts and Science (2002)
  • ACM SIGCOM Award (1999)
  • IEE Senior Award (1999)
  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1985)

He is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society as well as a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Physics.  He is Senior Member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers.

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