Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Waves are an important aspect of physics and applied mathematics because they are the fundamental mechanism by which all information is transmitted.

Research into wave phenomena at Manchester has a very strong history. Horace Lamb (Beyer Professor 1888-1920) conducted research into waves in elastic media (amongst other aspects) including surface waves, the Rayleigh-Lamb waves in elastic plates that now carry his name and the theory of sound. Sir James Lighthill (Beyer Professor 1950-1959) who is known (amongst other work) for his theory of aeroacoustics and nonlinear acoustics. Together with Gerald Whitham (who obtained his PhD at Manchester in 1953 under the direction of Lighthill) Lighthill developed a comprehensive theory of kinematic waves. The notable contributors to wave theory, DR Bland (viscoelasticity) and D.S. Jones (electromagnetic waves and acoustics) also spent time at Manchester. After Lighthill left Manchester, Fritz Ursell took up the Beyer Chair. Ursell carried out important research into water waves whilst at Manchester, first working with Goldstein and then as Beyer Professor (1961-1990). Ursell had numerous PhD students and postdoctoral assistants at Manchester who went on to do important research in wave mechanics. These include Frank Leppington (1964), David Evans (1966) and Douglas Gregory (1967). Paul Martin worked at Manchester from 1976-1999.

Current research in waves at Manchester

Waves image

The current focus of wave research at Manchester lies within the Waves in Complex Continua (WICC) Group established in 2010 and led by Prof David Abrahams (Beyer Professor since 1995) and Dr William Parnell. The group is funded by a variety of sources including the EPSRC, the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust and industry, perhaps most notably Thales Underwater Systems. It has a thriving group of PhD research students and postdocs working on broad range of research problems in wave mechanics. The group also welcomes research visitors from around the globe.

Did you know?

Research into wave phenomena at Manchester dates back to Horace Lamb's work in elastic media, published in 1917
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