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Professor Mark Dennis

Professor Mark Dennis

Professor Mark Dennis
MSci (St And), PhD(Bristol)

Professor of Theoretical Physics

Area of research

Optical Field Theory and Topological Physics

Office 3.51
HH Wills Physics Laboratory,
Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8761


I am a Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Theoretical Physics Group of the School of Physics, University of Bristol, UK.  My main research is in Optical Field Theory and Topological Physics.  These topics meet in my primary focus of geometric and topological aspects of wave physics, especially their manifestation in structured light and quantum wavefunctions.

I am particularly interested in:
· Singular and topological optics, including optical and electron vortices, wave dislocations and polarization singularities.  
· Statistical geometry and topology of random functions, with application to quantum chaos, statistical optics and cosmology.
· Geometry and topology of knots, links, braids and ribbons, especially those in spatially-extended fields.
· Mathematical methods for optical physics, especially special functions, superoscillation & superresolution, optical field theory and semiclassical physics.


I lead the Bristol half of the joint Bristol-Durham Leverhulme Programme Grant "SPOCK: Scientific Properties Of Complex Knots", in which we are investigating applications of knot theory across the physical, chemical and biological sciences. 

My research group consists of Dave Foster and Sandy Taylor (postdocs), Keith Alexander, Ben Bode, Elena Boniolo, Alex Houston, Lucy Purnell, Danica Sugic, Teuntje Tijssen (PhD students with various co-supervisors), Jon FellowsJo Hutchinson (Teaching Assistants) and Emma Creasey (SPOCK admin support).  I work closely with my Bristol Theory colleagues, Professors Michael Berry, John Hannay, James Annett,  John Nye and Dr Martin Gradhand.  I also frequently work with Professor Miles Padgett and the Glasgow Optics Group.  I also work closely with Dr Jörg Götte (MPI PKS Dresden). 


I am currently Head of the Theoretical Physics Group in Bristol.


In academic year 2015-16, I am teaching

• 1st year Core Physics I: Mechanics & Matter (PHYS10006): Mechanics lectures

• 4th year Relativistic Field Theory (PHYSM3417)

• 4th year Foundations of Modern Physics (PHYSM0023)

• one lecture in 1st year Big Ideas in Science ("Symmetry" module CHEM10001)


Other teaching-related responsibilities:

• Teaching & Learning advisor for Physics;

• Head of Theoretical Physics Degree;

• Physics contact for Joint Mathematics-Physics Degree;

• Head of Theoretical Physics Group (including Group Project Officer)


  • light
  • theoretical physics
  • topological optics
  • singular optics
  • statistical geometry
  • topology
  • knot theory
  • quantum chaos
  • special functions
  • fundamental physics

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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