Ron Johnston

Professor Ron Johnston, Geographical Sciences

Professor Ron Johnston, Geographical Sciences

The UK's electoral system is no longer fit for purpose, but each of the main political parties wants to reform it in a different way.

How can we get them to evaluate all the main options in a non-partisan way against pre-defined criteria, and then give the electorate a proper choice - as they do in New Zealand?

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Iain Gilchrist

Professor Iain Gilchrist, Experimental Psychology

Professor Iain Gilchrist, Experimental Psychology

Understanding the brain is one of the intellectual challenges of the 21st Century.

The brain generates our vivid perceptual experience and allows us to interact with our environment to change and shape it.

It is the brain that determines behaviour and it is changes in behaviour that will lie at the heart of solutions to many of the challenges that society faces including climate change, addiction, obesity and conflict.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Heidy Mader

Dr Heidy Mader, Earth Sciences

Dr Heidy Mader, Earth Sciences

Volcanoes are big, beautiful, complex and dangerous. I am interested in the physics of the flow processes that occur during volcanic eruptions.

We study these via laboratory experiments, numerical modeling and field observations often with other scientists as an interdisciplinary team.

I like it that this fundamental research will help people who live near volcanoes.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Jonathan Blundy

Professor Jonathan Blundy, Earth Sciences

Professor Jonathan Blundy, Earth Sciences

Molten rock, or magma, links geological phenomena as diverse as volcanism, ore formation and growth of Earth's crust.

Although we cannot observe directly underground magmatic processes, we can infer them from the chemistry and textures of rocks, once molten, now exposed on Earth's surface.

My research explores novel methods of interrogating magmatic rocks as to their formation.

This is a kind of forensic science, in which rocks are the mute witnesses to unimaginable subterranean ordeals on timescales from the minutes preceding a volcanic blast to the 4 billion years of Earth history.

At my disposal are a wealth of sophisticated analytical techniques, high temperature experimental apparata and field observations. The challenge (and the excitement) is in asking the right kinds of questions...

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Ruth Oulton

Dr Ruth Oulton, Physics

Dr Ruth Oulton, Physics

I am using semiconductors to make a new type of ultra-fast computer - the "quantum computer" - that performs logic operations using the rules of quantum mechanics.

My research involves experimenting on new types of quantum devices to see if they meet the very stringent requirements for such a quantum computer, and to explore the unusual ways in which they behave.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Wendy Larner

Professor Wendy Larner, Geographical Sciences

Professor Wendy Larner, Geographical Sciences

Globalisation is often understood as an inevitable 'new reality'. In contrast, my research examines how globalising geographies involve distinctive spatial imaginaries, heterogeneous governmental practices, and diverse political-economic actors.

Relatedly, I offer theoretically challenging and empirically rich analyses of neo-liberalism and 'post-welfarist' governance.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Alistair Hetherington

Professor Alistair Hetherington, Biological Sciences

Professor Alistair Hetherington, Biological Sciences

I work on how plants respond to a changing environment and specifically I want to understand how the pores on the leaf surface (stoma), responsible for controlling water loss and carbon dioxide uptake, open and close.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Steve Sparks

Professor Steve Sparks, Earth Sciences

Professor Steve Sparks, Earth Sciences

Volcanoes are the most dramatic of natural phenomenon showing that we live on a dynamic evolving planet.

I am interested in understanding how they work and using this knowledge to prevent disasters when volcanoes erupt.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Noah Linden

Professor Noah Linden, Mathematics

Professor Noah Linden, Mathematics

I am interested in the fundamental science of quantum systems; in particular I work on that most mysterious, but characteristic, concept: quantum entanglement/ non-locality.

Quantum mechanics, via the new field of quantum information science, also offers completely new insights into the notions of communication and computation; here my work aims at understanding what possibilities quantum systems offer for information processing, and indeed giving an answer to the question 'what is quantum information?'.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Derek Woolfson

Professor Dek Woolfson, Chemistry

Professor Dek Woolfson, Chemistry

Dek Woolfson's group apply principles and methods from chemistry and physics to biological problems.

They have a specific interest in understanding how protein molecules, which are linear polymers, fold up into functional, three-dimensional structures.

Not content with observing natural systems, the Woolfson group applies its understanding to design new proteins molecules for applications in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and medicine.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Dr Joy Singarayer

Dr Joy Singarayer, Geographical Sciences

Dr Joy Singarayer, Geographical Sciences

My main research aims to understand how and why natural climate and environmental changes have happened in the past, from recent decades to millions of years ago, and how these changes have influenced us, in terms of human evolution, behaviour and distribution around the planet.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Andrew Orr Ewing

Professor Andrew Orr Ewing, Chemistry

Professor Andrew Orr Ewing, Chemistry

Lasers enable us to explore the fundamental mechanisms of chemical change, despite the very fast (femto- to pico-second) timescales over which reactions occur.

We also exploit developments in laser technology to design instruments capable of studying the interaction of light with individual particles smaller than a micron in diameter, or to measure components of ambient air that are present at trace levels lower than 1 part in a billion.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Claire Grierson

Professor Claire Grierson, Biological Sciences

Professor Claire Grierson, Biological Sciences

Life is the product of complicated physical and chemical interactions between molecules, but how do these produce growth, and how is this growth controlled so that it happens at precisely the right times and in the right places?

We are working to answer these questions using plants and microbes because it is easier, technically and ethically, to do powerful, informative experiments with these organisms than with animals.

Our results are relevant to a wide range of applications from agriculture to human health and we are exploring potential agricultural applications.

Understanding how dynamic interactions between molecules produce growth and development is essential for our work, but there is surprisingly little previous work to go on.

We are addressing this with fundamental research into network dynamics and the dynamics of biochemical processes.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Tanniemola Liverpool

Dr Tanniemola Liverpool, Mathematics

Dr Tanniemola Liverpool, Mathematics

Complex fluids, also called soft matter, are characterised by geometric structures on a mesoscopic scale several orders of magnitude bigger than the molecular scale but well below the macroscopic (human) scale.

Living cells have many components in common with soft matter (polymers, amphiphilic molecules, colloids, and liquid crystals).

But (and this is what makes them so fascinating) they have novel properties which are not present in traditional complex fluids (basically because they are alive!). I study mathematical models for complex fluids, particularly with a view to describing biology at the scale of the cell.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Christine Mohr

Dr Christine Mohr, Experimental Psychology

Dr Christine Mohr, Experimental Psychology

So much money goes into the understanding of mental illness, yet, many people are at risk at some point in their lives, but do not get ill.

What are the mechanisms that keep us mentally sane? Is it our past, is it our thinking, is it our social environment, or is it our brain and its chemistry?

Dr. Mohr investigates these questions in presumably high-risk individuals (e.g. people with many magical beliefs and experiences, body image disturbances).

While there is no single answer to these questions, one certain statement is that the different factors are highly interdependent.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Ashraf Alam

Professor Ashraf Alam, Physics

Professor Ashraf Alam, Physics

Properties of electrons in a material define most of its characteristics. One unique way to study properties of electrons in technologically relevant systems is to use the anti-particle of the electron (a positron) as a probe.

When a positron injected into the material under investigation meets an electron of the host material, both annihilate producing two gamma rays, each carrying an energy equivalent to the rest mass of the particles.

Observations of the properties of these gamma photons lead to conclusions of structural and/or dynamic nature of these materials.

Using this technique as a tool, my research encompasses diverse materials: from superconducting/magnetic metallic systems to food and pharmaceutical polymers.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Varinder Aggarwal

Professor Varinder Aggarwal, Chemistry

Professor Varinder Aggarwal, Chemistry

Using complex proteins as organization tools and as catalysts Nature is able to make molecules with exquisite control over shape, structure and form.

We are trying to emulate nature in the construction of molecules with the same type of control but without recourse to the complex machinery nature employs.

We develop small molecule catalysts and reactive reagents to rapidly convert simple starting materials into complex products with control over shape, structure and function.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Lynne Walling

Dr Lynne Walling, Mathematics

Dr Lynne Walling, Mathematics

Quadratic forms abound in mathematics and physics, as they capture the geo-metric notions of distance and orthogonality. Whenever the setting is discrete, all questions about quadratic forms become number theoretic questions about "lattices".

Number theorists are constantly asking: How many? In the 1930s, Carl Ludwig Siegel asked: Given a lattice L whose geometry is given by the quadratic form Q, and given some other quadratic form T, how many sublattices of L have their geometry given by T?

To study this question, Siegel introduced a certain function; encoded in this function is the answer to Siegel's question, for every possible choice of T. The long-term goal of my research is to break this code, obtaining explicit formulas in answer to Siegel's question.

Along the way, my work contributes partial answers to Siegel's question, as well as theorems about the structure of the space of Siegel modular forms, where Siegel's function resides.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Richard Gregory

Professor Richard Gregory, Experimental Psychology

Professor Richard Gregory, Experimental Psychology

My current research is on innate face recognition, in collaboration with the Centre for Research into Infant Behaviour at Brunel University. Theories of perception, and communicating science, are the focus of my writing and thinking.

Professor Gregory died on 17th May 2010, not long after this portrait was taken and these words were written by him. He was a profoundly inspirational and exceptionally distinguished scientist. He spent the last 40 years of his career in Bristol.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Sandu Popescu

Professor Sandu Popescu, Physics

Professor Sandu Popescu, Physics

My main research interest is in fundamental aspects of quantum physics; basically I am interested in getting a better understanding of the nature of quantum behavior. The fact that so often one discovers seemingly paradoxical new quantum effects is a signature that a deep and intuitive understanding is still missing.

A major focus of my research has been quantum non-locality. For most of its history, the subject of quantum non-locality was primarily of interest to philosophers of physics. My research aim was to go beyond philosophy and to develop an understanding of the physics of non-locality.

This led me to establish some of the central concepts of the new area of quantum information and computation. I have also worked on many other aspects of quantum theory, ranging from the very fundamental, to designing practical experiments (such as the first teleportation experiment) to patentable commercial applications.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

Innes Cuthill

Professor Innes Cuthill, Biological Sciences

Professor Innes Cuthill, Biological Sciences

I am a behavioural ecologist, and one of my main interests in recent years has been the evolution of animal coloration, particularly camouflage.

This is an interesting topic for a biologist because camouflage is as an adaptation to the perception and mind of another species. What matters for a cryptic moth is going unnoticed or unrecognised by a predatory bird; what humans see is irrelevant.

This has led me into exciting collaborations with neuroscientists, perceptual psychologists and computer scientists working on artificial vision. Understanding animal camouflage turns out to be a fundamentally interdisciplinary exercise.

Photo: Chrystal Cherniwchan

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