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Professor Mark Dennis

Optical Field Theory and Topological Physics

I am a Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Theoretical Physics Group of the Physics Department, University of Bristol, UK.  My research focuses primarily in geometric and topological aspects of wave physics, and more generally in the physics of optical and quantum mechanical waves.

I am particularly interested in: 

· Singular and topological optics (the study of singular loci of scalar, vector, and tensor wave fields), including optical vortices, wave dislocations and polarization singularities. 

· Statistical geometry and topology of random functions, and applications in 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, including special functions, superoscillation & superresolution, quantum-classical correspondence, and ray-based asymptotics.


My main coworkers in Bristol Physics are James Ring and Sandy Taylor (PhD students), as well as Professors Michael Berry, John Hannay and John Nye.  I also frequently work with Professor Miles Padgett and the Glasgow Optics Group.

In academic year 2013-14, I am lecturing 4th year Relativistic Field Theory, am teaching part of 3rd year Methods of Theoretical Physics, and am co-teaching the 4th year current topics strand Foundations of Modern Physics. I am also responsible, with Professor James Ladyman, for the Joint School of Physics and Philosophy

Research keywords

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