Professor Christopher Jones


My interests are in Geophysical and Astrophysical fluid dynamics. The Earth's core is continually stirred by convection as heat escapes from the deep interior. Since the core is mostly molten iron, these flows can generate electric currents which produce the Earth's magnetic field. By solving the equations governing convection in a rotating magnetic environment, we can understand the flow patterns, and hence discover how the Earth's magnetic field is created. The field patterns that emerge from the models can be compared with observed geomagnetic data, so we can use this data to probe the physical conditions in the core.

Similar ideas can be used to study the magnetic fields of other planets, and also to understand the origin of the very fast east-west winds that are seen on the giant outer planets. Since the density varies dramatically over the convecting regions in giant planets, I have been involved in developing computational methods based on the anelastic equations of fluid dynamics, which take the large density variation into account.

The mathematical part of this work involves understanding the behaviour of convection in the presence of rotation and magnetic field, both near onset and in the strongly nonlinear regime. This involves studying the bifurcations to new flow and field patterns, and hence the mathematics of nonlinear dynamics.

I am an Editor of the journal 'Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, and an Associate Editor of the journal 'Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics'.

Link to Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

Research groups and institutes

  • Applied mathematics

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.