Bristol Physics Research Papers

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My research lies in the field of statistical physics and, in particular, the area of liquid state theory. Current interests include: i) fluid interfacial phenomena, especially the physics of adsorption, with emphasis on fluid phase transitions and criticality at surfaces,and the nature of correlation functions. ii) fluids under nano and mesoscale confinement. iii) theory of nucleation. iv) deriving and applying simple models of colloidal suspensions. I am also interested in the formal links between classical and quantum density functional theory(DFT), a technique that forms a cornerstone of many body physics.



Date of Birth April 7,1946.  Nationality  UK.

Education :BSc Mathematical Physics, University of Birmingham, UK (1967)

                PhD Theoretical Physics, University of Bristol, UK (1970)         

Career :

1970-3 Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Bristol, UK

1973-4 Royal Society/SRC European Research Fellow, Freie Universität West Berlin

1974-7 Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Bristol

1977-8 SRC Advanced Research Fellow, University of Bristol

1978-84 Lecturer, University of Bristol

1984-92 Reader in Physics, University of Bristol

1992-2006 Professor of Physics, University of Bristol

1997 Research Professor, Bergische Universität, Wuppertal, Germany

2002-5 Humboldt Awardee, MPI für Metallforschung, Stuttgart,Germany

2006-11 Henry Overton Wills Professor and Head of Department, University of Bristol

2011 Kramers Chair of Theoretical Physics, University of Utrecht, Netherlands

2011- Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol

Distinctions and Awards :

1981 Elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics 

2002 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (Humboldt Preis)

2002 Molecular Physics Lecturer (Taylor & Francis)

2005 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London

2007 Lennard-Jones Prize and Lecturer (Royal Society of Chemistry)

2011-3 Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship

2011 Kramers Professorship, University of Utrecht

2014 European Physical Society Liquid Matter Prize

2016-8 Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship





  • statistical physics
  • condensed matter theory.


See Professor Sir Michael Berry's website for more details.

Many incompletely understood phenomena lurk in the borderlands between physical theories - between classical and quantum, between rays and waves... These borderlands - the domain of physical asymptotics - are my intellectual habitat, with an emphasis on geometrical aspects of waves (especially phase) and chaos.

A source of delight is uncovering down-to-earth or dramatic and sometimes beautiful examples of abstract mathematical ideas: the arcane in the mundane. Examples are:

  • mathematical singularities in rainbows and the patterns on the bottom of swimming-pools;
  • a laser pointer shone through irregular bathroom-window glass, illustrating abstract aspects of wave interference;
  • optics with transparent overhead-projector plastic sheets, illustrating polarization singularities, matrix degeneracies, and quantum measurement, and Anderson localization;
  • a levitating spinning-top, illustrating adiabatic stability and geometric phases;
  • twists and turns with a belt, illustrating the behaviour of identical particles in quantum mechanics, responsible for the impenetrability of matter, lasers, superconductivity...
  • Oriental magic mirrors, directly displaying the Laplacian.
  • Tsunamis, which are caustics in spacetime, and, when focused, spacetime caustics on a cusped caustic


  • physical theories
  • physical asymptotics


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