Professor Peter Wells CBE (1936 – 2017)

26 April 2017

Professor Peter Wells

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of Professor Peter Wells CBE.

Peter was one of the most well-known and highly regarded figures in the world of medical ultrasound. He pioneered the development of ultrasonics as a diagnostic and surgical tool, which revolutionised clinical practice around the world.

Peter spent much of his early years in Bristol, graduating with a PhD from the University of Bristol. He then went on to become a Medical Physicist at United Bristol Hospitals between 1960 and 1971 before beginning his long-standing relationship with Cardiff by becoming a Professor of Medical Physics at the Welsh National School of Medicine from 1972 to 1974.

Until 2000, Peter was a Chief Physicist at United Bristol Hospitals as well as an Honorary Professor in Clinical Radiology and Professor of Physics and Engineering in Medicine at the University of Bristol. Peter was also a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London from 2004 onwards, as well as a Visiting Professor at University College London from 2011.

In 2011, Peter became a Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University, where he continued his pioneering work into ultrasonics. Peter was also developing a new type of CT scanning, likely to be used for ultrasonic breast screening, as well as a much faster form of ultrasound scanning.

Testament to the impact and calibre of the work that Peter undertook, he held some of the most prestigious titles and awards from the world’s most eminent authorities in his field. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1983, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1984 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003. Peter was also a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

In 2013, Peter was awarded the Royal Medal from the Royal Society “for pioneering the application of the physical and engineering sciences to the development of ultrasonics as a diagnostic and surgical tool which has revolutionised clinical practice.”

Peter was also awarded the Sir Frank Whittle Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. The award was given to an engineer in the UK "whose sustained achievements have had a profound impact upon their engineering discipline.”

In 2009, Peter was Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours list for his services to healthcare science.