Andrew Fowler

Contact details

E-mail: or
University of Oxford phone: 44-1865-270519
University of Limerick phone: 353-61-234642
Fax: (Oxford) 44-1865-270515; (Limerick) 353-61-334927
UK mobile 00 44 7811 220415; Irish mobile 00 353 85 814 8867


I was an undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, gaining a first in mathematics in 1974, and then I wrote a D.Phil. on glacier dynamics under the supervision of Alan Tayler, submitted in 1977 and granted in 1978. People often ask me how I got started in this apparently abstruse subject. In fact, Dale Larson, then a post-doc with Jim Murray at Oxford, had a paper by John Nye concerning waves on glaciers, and a bunch of us got interested in the problem; I simply kept going with it.

From 1977 to 1980 I was a postdoc at Trinity College Dublin, where I continued working on glaciology, and also started work on mantle convection, a subject which I still pursue.

After that, I went to M.I.T., first as Instructor, and then as Assistant Professor (in the Mathematics Department). I left M.I.T. in 1985 to take up a University lecturership in Mathematics at Oxford University, together with a Fellowship at Corpus Christi College. In 1999 I was appointed Adjunct Professor in the University of Limerick, and from November 2007, I was appointed Stokes Professor in Limerick, in association with the creation of the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (MACSI).

Research interests

My research interests cover a wide range of applications of mathematical modelling in the applied sciences, including geophysics, biology and industrial problems, and using analytical, asymptotic and numerical methods of analysis to obtain useful results.

While I get excited by the mathematical analysis which occurs in solving practical problems, my overriding concern is that the physical problem should be solved in a form which is of interest and of use to the applied scientist. Not that I'm always successful in this endeavour.

A reasonable list of my different research areas is given below:

Glaciology: glacier flow, ice sheet dynamics, basal sliding, subglacial hydrology.

Geophysics: mantle convection, dynamics of the earth's core, solidification processes in magma chambers, magma transport, frost heave.

Industrial: applications (e.g. at Oxford Study Group), two phase flow, alloy solidification.

Nonlinear systems and asymptotics: chaos in differential equations, turbulence, shear flows, convection. Time series analysis. Differential-delay equations. Asymptotic methods.

Medical and biological: respiratory and cardiac physiology, blood cell physiology, immunology.

Supervised doctoral theses and master's degrees

A list of my former students and their thesis subjects can be found in my curriculum vitae. To find a one line biography and what they are doing now (if I know!), click here. Here is a (partial) list of suitable M. Sc. dissertation and D. Phil. thesis projects.



Published papers related to my research interests can be found in the links above. A full edition can be found in my curriculum vitae. Papers which can be downloaded as postscript files are also indicated there (with figures included where available).


Current research

I am currently working on problems involving Liesegang rings, layered igneous intrusions, granular flow, frost heave, submarine turbidity currents, plant nutrient cycling, soil biogeochemistry, tree growth and the formation of drumlins, eskers and flutes. The bottom end of my curriculum vitae is a good place to find what's currently in the mill.


At Oxford I have in the past taught the courses

Summer schools

More and more summer schools are run each year, many of the European ones being in the Alps. For the right subject, these are an excellent way for students to meet their contemporaries, and to fast forward their academic careers.

I have been a regular lecturer at the summer school on the Dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets on `Sliding, drainage and basal processes'. This school has been held approximately biennially in the Alps since 1995. It is an ideal way in which glaciology students can broaden their understanding of the subject in a friendly, stimulating, and otherwise terrific environment.

Tee shirts

Of course you will want to buy an OCIAM tee shirt, whether to pose on the beach, or as a useful shirt for playing football.

Picture gallery

Objects of scientific and miscellaneous interest are in the picture gallery.

[OCIAM Home Page] [Mathematical Institute]