Physics was established as an academic discipline in Leeds in 1874 with the founding of the Yorkshire College of Science. Lord Cavendish (from the same family as Henry Cavendish and son of the Duke of Devonshire) was a local MP and member of the council of the Yorkshire College. Following his murder in Phoenix Park in 1882, the College established the Cavendish Chair of Physics in his memory. Notable holders of the chair have included W Stroud (formed the company Barr and Stroud) 1885-1909, W H Bragg (his experimental X-ray work for which his Nobel Prize was awarded was done in Leeds) 1909-1915 and E C Stoner 1951-1963, famous for magnetism and more recently recognised, astrophysics. The University of Leeds was established in 1904 following the dissolution of the Victoria University.
After the death of E C Stoner in 1963, solid state physics came under the guidance of J S Dugdale (1965-1987) where the group focus was on electron transport and magnetic properties of bulk metals. With the arrival of G J Morgan (1969) the emphasis shifted to the study of quantum interference effects in disordered and glassy metals. In 1989 the group, led by D Greig, acquired an MBE machine and worked on giant magnetoresistance and magnetic multilayers. Today the group comprises 5 academic staff and is led by Hickey (appointed 1990, chair 2000) and works on spintronics, structural and magnetic properties of materials using scattering techniques, and carbon-based material. Most of the material is nano-structured through lithography or other means and the emphasis is on electron-transport and quantum entanglement.