• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

1991 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in simulations (and even occasional calculations) with various sorts of matter on dynamical lattices, random surfaces and random graphs and have also made some forays into solvable nonequilibrium models such as the ASEP (Asymmmetric Exclusion Process) and ZRP (Zero Range Process).

I survived coordinating an EC HCM network grant: "Analytical and Numerical Investigations of Random Geometries" (1993-1996) with only marginal hair loss and was foolish enough to take on coordinating another EC IHP network grant "Discrete Random Geometries: From Solid State Physics to Quantum Gravity" and an associated ESF network for the period 2000-2004 but I cunningly passed the role of network co-ordinator onto Renate Loll for the Framework 6 network ENRAGE (2005-2009).

More recently, I was co-investigator on the EPSRC grant EP/R009465/1 (PI R. Weston) "Baxter Relations for Open Integrable Quantum Spin Chains" (2018-2021).

More information can be found at  https://www.professordes.uk/.



After growing up in Belfast and studying Natural Sciences at Trinity College Cambridge, I emerged from a PhD in Theoretical Physics at Imperial College in 1986 into a rather bleak Thatcherite landscape.

At this point I decided to go abroad, first to LPTHE Orsay near Paris in 1986-7, then to Caltech in 1987-9. I managed to be in Berlin in 1989 at the Free University for a few months while the wall came down before rounding off my wanderings in Lancaster as a temporary lecturer in physics in 1990.

It occurred to me that I could apply for jobs in mathematics as well as physics, which I did, and ended up as a lecturer at Heriot-Watt in 1990. I have been here ever since as a senior lecturer, reader and professor apart from a year's leave of absence in 1993-4 as a Marie Curie Fellow at Orsay again and shorter sojourns at the Institut Henri Poincare, the Niels Bohr Institute and Nordita.

Since 2013 I have been involved with lecturing at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Ghana, Senegal and South Africa.


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