Head of Department of Mathematics, University of Surrey

Ian obtained his first degree in theoretical physics from the University of London, and his DPhil in mathematical physics from Oxford University. Ian spent the years 1989-2003 as a scientist at the UK Meteorological Office, and during his last five years with the Office he led the Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology -- a partnership between the Met Office and the University of Reading. In 2004, Ian came to Surrey, and he continues his collaboration with the Met Office through joint studentships and other research programmes.

Ian has two main areas of interest when it comes to research: data assimilation
for weather and climate prediction, and theoretical fluid mechanics. Surrey provides an ideal environment for pursuing these quite different subjects: the Surrey Space Centre, EnFlo, and the Centre for Environmental Strategy, are all excellent partners for research on Earth observation and environmental modelling. The Department of Mathematics hosts excellent research groups with expertise in fluid mechanics, dynamical systems and differential geometry, and the fusion of ideas from these areas is one of Ian's passions.

Having been supervised for his DPhil by Roger Penrose and Andrew Hodges, something rubbed off in terms of writing about science, and in 2013 Ian published, with his co-author John Norbury, Invisible in the Storm: the role of mathematics in understanding weather (Princeton UP). Ian and John were recipients of the American Meteorological Society's Louis J Battan Author's Award this year.

In taking over as Head of Department, Ian will draw on his leadership and networking roles in the Met Office to help the Department face the challenges that lie ahead, especially in the UK's rapidly changing and increasingly competitive research environment. He is looking forward to generating new research agendas in collaboration with other departments at Surrey, and Ian is particularly keen to promote new ventures with the National Physical Laboratory.


  • –present
    Head of Department of Mathematics, University of Surrey