From volcanoes to photons From volcanoes to photons

A wide range of exciting physics research takes place at UEA in collaborative work involving several Schools of study.

Our prestigious School of Environmental Sciences (rated 1st in the UK for research impact) produces leading work in geophysics, meteorology and volcanology, while our School of Chemistry (rated 4th in the UK for research quality) is working on fundamental topics in chemical physics and ultrafast laser spectroscopy.

We also conduct applied research in the School of Mathematics (7th in the UK for research quality), largely in nonlinear physics and fluid mechanics, alongside theoretical work in quantum physics.*

Geophysics, volcanology and meteorology

We have one of the largest Environmental Sciences departments in the UK, undertaking some of the most important research on climate change, oceanography and natural hazards in the world. Our physics expertise are brought to bear on various problems in the environmental sciences, but most notably in the field of geophysics.

Dr Jessica Johnson, a Solid Earth Geophysics Lecturer at UEA, conducts fascinating research on the movement of fluid (such as magma, water and gas) in the earth, investigating the way in which its behaviour impacts on geophysical phenomena like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, ground deformation and hydrothermal productivity.

Other Environmental Scientists working primarily in Oceanography and Meteorology, such as Professor Karen Heywood, are utilising physics techniques to investigate the role of oceans and the atmosphere in climate change. Professor Heywood recently received the Challenger Medal for her extraordinary contribution to the field.

Chemical physics, spectroscopy and thermodynamics

We also conduct a large amount of research at the interface of physics and chemistry, notably in the domain of ultrafast processes and spectroscopy. Academics like Professor Stephen Meech and Stephen Ashworth are involved in a number of international research collaborations, applying ultrafast methods to a variety of intriguing problems. Dr Garth Jones works in a similar field, utilising computational and theoretical techniques to to investigate light-molecule interactions and simulations of electron transfer and photodissociation.

Fluid mechanics, nonlinear physics and quantum theory

Researchers based in the School of Mathematics have a strong focus on fluid mechanics and nonlinear physics, inviting collaborations with Environmental Scientists who are experts in the physics of waves. Dr Davide Proment recently contributed to the discovery of a partial solution to the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam problem using physics equations drawn from wave turbulence theory, and Dr Hayder Salman has a research focus on nonlinear waves, nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, and turbulence with applications to Bose-Einstein condensates and superfluids.

Professor David Andrews leads the quantum electrodynamics research group at UEA and has made a major contribution to the development of the theory of molecular interactions, with each other and with light. His theoretical work in physics has been internationally recognised for many years, developing pioneering ideas about the fundamental properties of photons and investigating a unified theory of energy transfer.

*All rankings according to REF 2014