I am Professor of Physical Oceanography in the the Department of Physics, University of Oxford, having recently completed a 5 year term as Head of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics. I am also a Professorial Fellow at St Hugh’s College and a Senior Fellow in the Oxford Martin School. My first degree was in Physics from Imperial College, London. Following a brief 2-day flirtation with theoretical particle physics at the University of Southampton, I made one of the best decisions of my life and quit to start a new PhD in Physical Oceanography, again at Imperial College. I was extremely fortunate in that my PhD supervisor, John Marshall (no relation!) moved to the US. Along with most of his group, I followed him to MIT where I remained for 3 years to complete my PhD then work as a post-doc. In 1994, I returned to the UK to take up a faculty position in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading. Following 12.5 happy years in Reading, I moved in 2007 to my current position in Oxford. I’ve been fortunate to train up and work with many talented scientists in my research group, many of which now hold faculty or permanent scientific appointments.
CV (February 2021)
My research interests are in understanding the fluid dynamics of the global ocean circulation. In an era of high-resolution computational calculations, I believe that the traditional approach of constructing conceptual models to develop paradigms that can be tested with observations and high-resolution model calculations is more necessary than ever: what Samuel Karlin described as “sharpening the questions”. Often under appreciated is the role of creativity in this process: with time, you learn to develop a nose for a good problem, and for a good approach; and also the importance of following your own instinct rather than the crowd.
My interests span a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, from the sub-mesoscale (1 km) to the global basin scale (10 000 km), from hours to millennia (occasionally longer). Much of my work concerns one or more of the following topics: circulation of the Southern Ocean; the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation; interactions between mesoscale eddies and the large-scale circulation.
I have a combined Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number of 9 (allowing for a brief movie appearance as an extra!)