Professor David Parker MA DPhil FInstP MIPEM

Professor David Parker

School of Physics and Astronomy
Honorary Professor of Physics

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Parker is Director of the University of Birmingham Positron Imaging Centre, dedicated to applying variants of the medical imaging technique Positron Emission Tomography to study flows in engineering and the physical sciences.  In particular, the technique Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) enables a small radioactively-labelled particle to be accurately tracked as it moves between the detectors of a positron camera.   Professor Parker is co-author of over 120 publications in refereed journals.  In 2008 he was awarded the Institute of Physics’ Joule Medal “for the creation of positron emission particle tracking as a practical tool in a wide variety of engineering applications”.

Professor Parker is also responsible for the Birmingham MC40 cyclotron.  In addition to producing the short-lived radioisotopes required by the Positron Imaging Centre, the cyclotron is used for research in areas ranging from medicine to materials sciences, and (operating as Alta Cyclotron Services Ltd) provides commercial irradiation services.

Professor Parker is programme director of the MSc in Medical and Radiation Physics.


  • DPhil in Nuclear Physics, University of Oxford, 1984
  • BA in Mathematics, University of Cambridge, 1979


David Parker graduated in Mathematics from Cambridge in 1979 and worked for the next ten years in the Nuclear Physics Division of the UKAEA’s Harwell Laboratory, developing applied nuclear techniques.  In 1989 he joined the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, where he has been responsible for developing the PEPT technique.   Between 2002-2004 he oversaw the transfer of the MC40 Cyclotron from Minneapolis to Birmingham.  In 2003 he was awarded a five year EPSRC Senior Fellowship to allow him to concentrate on research, and in 2007 he was appointed to a personal chair in Physics.

Professor Parker’s group is working on development of the PET and PEPT techniques, including improvements in tracer labelling and construction of improved positron cameras using redundant medical equipment.  Recently he has taken a particular interest in the use of PEPT to study for fundamental granular dynamics studies.


  • Y3/Y4 Medical Imaging
  • Y3/Y4 Image Processing
  • MSc Nuclear Radiation Physics

Postgraduate supervision

  • Supervision of research PhDs in positron imaging and granular dynamics



  • Positron imaging
  • Granular dynamics
  • Radiation Physics

Other activities

  • Director, Alta Cyclotron Services Ltd (the company is wholly-owned by the University of Birmingham, and provides commercial irradiation services using the MC40 Cyclotron)


  • Cole, K E, Waters, K E,  Parker, D J, Neethling, S J and  Cilliers, J J,(2010), PEPT combined with high speed digital imaging for particle tracking in dynamic foams,
    Chemical Engineering Science 65, 1887-1890
  •  Parker, D J, Leadbeater, T W, Fan, X, Hausard, M N,  Ingram, A and Yang, Z (2009), Positron emission particle tracking using a modular positron camera,
     Nuclear Instruments and Methods A604 339-342
  • Parker, D J, Leadbeater, T W, Fan, X, Hausard, M N, Ingram, A and Yang, Z (2008) Positron imaging techniques for process engineering: recent developments at Birmingham, Measurement Science and Technology  19 Article Number: 094004 

View all publications in research portal