Dr Derek Harland

Dr Derek Harland


I gained a PhD under the supervision of Richard Ward at Durham University in 2008.  I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in 2012.  After spending time in Hannover, Durham, and Loughborough I settled into my current position at the University of Leeds in 2013.


  • Examinations and Assessment Tutor

Research interests

In theoretical physics and in differential geometry one often encounters the problem finding minima of an 'energy functional' defined over an infinite-dimensional configuration space. Typically the configuration space might be a space of maps between manifolds, or a space of connections on and sections of a vector bundle. The study of such critical points may provide non-trivial information about the underlying manifolds and the physics involved. Three systems I am currently interested in are the Yang-Mills-Higgs, Yang-Mills and Skyrme energy functionals, whose critical points are called 'monopoles', 'instantons' and 'skyrmions' respectively. The Skyrme model relates to nuclear physics, and I have developed a version of this model which yields realistic binding energies.  My recent work on instantons has focused on so-called "exceptional" geometries in seven and eight dimensions.

Research groups and institutes

  • Pure Mathematics
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>