Research Profile of the College
Dr Max Sternberg
Sternberg’s research interests cover both contemporary and historical areas of architecture and urbanism, as well as architectural theory. As the Deputy Director of the Urban Conflicts Research his work falls within urban studies. He has worked on Israel-Palestine, North Africa, and more recently on the German-Polish Border. He is particularly interested in the politicisation of heritage in contexts of national and ethno-religious contestation. Sternberg also works on the social meanings of medieval architecture and the reception of the Middle Ages in modernism. His research is informed by an interested in the relationship between philosophy and architecture more broadly.
Prof Charles Melville
My research interests cover quite a broad range of topics in Persian studies, particularly mediaeval history, literature and art. Much of my research has concentrated one way and another on the Mongol period (13-14th century) in Iran, whether it be on the political history and historiography of the Mongol Empire, or the arts of the book (manuscript culture) under the Ilkhanid dynasty and its successors in subsequent centuries. Animportant part of this is the central role of the Persian epic poem, the Shahnama or Book of Kings (c. 1010 AD), which became a symbol of Iranian culture and identity in the Mongol period and continued to be a prime work for copying in fine manuscripts, very frequently illustrated. Work on the ‘Shahnama Project’ initially funded by two AHRB/AHRC grants, is a permanent continuing element of my work, building the database of illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnama. My research is currently concentrating on the topic of the ‘Illustration of History’, that is, examining the way various chronicles were illustrated (or not) – and what lay behind the choices of which text to illustrate and which scenes to depict within those chronicles: and then how the illustration relates to the written text. My work is seeking to expand into Central Asia (Transoxiana) and northern India, to explore the shared political notions of government and common themes of historical literature, especially between Safavid Persia, Mughal India and Uzbek Central Asia.
Prof Silvana Cardoso
My research focuses on the interaction of fluid mechanics and chemistry in three areas:
- turbulent plumes and thermals in the environment, such as the BP oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico (2010), the Icelandic volcanic plume (2010), the Fukushima nuclear cloud (2011) and the recently observed oceanic methane releases (2012);
- flow and reaction in porous media, e.g., the spreading of carbon dioxide in geological storage at Sleipner in the North Sea, and the impact of climate warming on the melting of methane hydrates; and in
- cool flames and thermo-kinetic explosions, as occurred in the crash of TWA flight 800 (1996).
The work combines laboratory experiments and theoretical models, with the aim of developing fundamental knowledge and explaining key mechanisms in flows with impact on the natural environment.
Dr Christopher Ness (Maudslay-Butler RF)
Disordered materials such as pastes, gels and colloids are ubiquitous in industry and are some classical examples of soft matter. Historically, the unique characteristics of such materials have allowed them to serve very effectively as models to reveal the fundamental physics of atomic systems. Looking forward, recent advances in particle synthesis and functionalisation have meant that soft matter systems now hold great promise as designer materials of the future.
They present intriguing properties: their mechanical response can vary between that of a viscous liquid and that of an elastic solid, simply by changing the preparation procedure or the flow conditions. My current research aims to use both simulations and experiments to link formulation to flowability, for a variety of soft matter systems. Simple experimental setups allow us to test the rheology of these materials – how they deform under certain applied stresses. Along with a broad network of collaborators, I am looking at the rheological properties of suspensions, polymers, selectively attractive emulsions and highly confined colloids. The results from such studies will contribute to design principles for future materials with highly customisable mechanical properties.
Dr Renaud Gagné
My immediate research plans include two ongoing monograph projects. The first is called Hyperborea: Excursions to the Overnorth. Hyperborea is one of the most influential utopian mirages of European culture, and tracing its progress opens a trajectory through the dynamics of Western cultural imagination. A continuous chain of rewritings can be followed without interruption from early Archaic Greek myth and cult to the deadly fantasies of 20th-century Aryanism and beyond. The long cultural history of that ancient trope opens a window onto the continuities and disruptions of a tradition that never ceased to inform powerful discourses about center and periphery, the Mediterranean dialogue with "Northern" Europe, identity, origins, and cultural authority. Hyperborea traces these trajectories in nine chapters, with the first half of the book devoted to the material of Greek and Roman antiquity, and the second to its reception in Early Modern and Modern scholarship and popular literature. The second monograph is called Chorus and Symposium: Metaphors of Performance in Ancient Greek Culture. Chorus and Symposium is concerned with both literary and visual representations, and ranges widely from the Early Archaic age to Late Antiquity. Two further projects are already well along. One is Chresmodia: Ancient Greek Oracular Poetry, a literary study of the significant and much-neglected corpus of Archaic and Classical verse oracles, which will be accompanied by a critical edition of all the relevant fragments. The other project is The Memory of Ancient Greek Religion, a major collaborative effort devoted to the extended cultural history of ancient Greek religion's reception, both within and after antiquity up to the present. I am also presently co-editing a volume on Regimes of Comparatism, a book on the gods of Homer, and beginning work on the new edition of the Cambridge History of Ancient Greek Literature.
Dr Rebecca Lämmle
My main field of expertise is ancient Greek drama. In my doctoral education, I committed myself to the study of satyr play, the third (or first?) theatrical genre in ancient Athens. While satyric drama has long stood in the shadow of its ‘sister genres’, tragedy and comedy, my first monograph offered a full account of the history and poetics of the genre, arguing that it played a crucial role in the development of all dramatic forms in ancient Greece. This line of inquiry has led to a number of stand-alone publications and projects, including studies on the post-classical history of satyr play and the reception of the poet Euripides through the ages. More recently, I have started working towards a commentary on Euripides’ Cyclops together with Prof. R.L. Hunter for CUP’s Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series.
I am also interested in modes of reflecting on literary and cultural history beyond the dramatic stage. Specifically, I explore the notions of and views on Geistesgeschichte that are articulated in katabasis narratives, i.e. narratives about encounters and dialogues with (or among) the dead, especially as they occur in the comical and satirical traditions of ancient Greek and Roman literature. In this framework, I am currently preparing a book-length study on the satiric Silloi where the Hellenistic philosopher-cum-poet Timon of Phlius, the follower of Pyrrho of Elis (the alleged ‘founding father’ of Skepticism), tells of his netherworldly encounter with the philosophers of the Greek tradition and their all too worldly concerns.
Other on-going projects include an edited volume on the poetics of enumeration (lists and catalogues in ancient and modern literature) and a study on courtship in Greek literature.
Prof Loraine Gelsthorpe
Overall interests: the links between criminal justice and social justice; the shape and development of criminal justice policy since the 1950s; race and gender issues in the conception, delivery and effectiveness of criminal justice policy and interventions; women, crime and sentencing; youth justice developments and 'what works’? with young offenders. ‘What works’ in community penalties? Global human movement, crime and justice; human trafficking – the criminalisation of migrants in the criminal justice system; experiences of being smuggled. Restorative Justice. Legitimacy in criminal justice developments.
Main aims: to elucidate and illuminate shortcomings in the current criminal justice systems in the UK, draw comparisons with other countries, exemplify good practice and alternative ways of doing things so as to avoid unnecessary criminalisation and punitiveness – via empirical research, theoretical and methodological innovation.
Dr Donald Robertson
Fellow in Economics: Econometrics both theoretical and applied. Particularly time series (with a focus on predictability and trend extraction) and panel data (where I am interested in heterogeneity and modelling cross sectional dependence). Applications in macroeconomics, finance and labour economics.
Dr Demosthenes Tambakis
Over time my research addresses the emergence & long-run policy implications of non-linear tradeoffs in macroeconomics. Within this theme, in recent years I have focussed on studying regime-switching models in monetary policy. Regime 1 is 'passive', i.e. unconventional policy with zero interest rates; Regime 2 is 'active', i.e. conventional interest rate policy. Among other findings, I have shown that an economy's long-run deflation risk ("Japanization") and the predictability of its macroeconomic transmission mechanism depend sensitively on the two regimes' expected duration. For example, I show that transmission is likely to break down if Regime 1 is expected to last longer than a certain threshold, which for the US is about a year. This research area has attracted great attention, spurred at central banks, since the global financial crisis of 2008. Most recently, I am working on the link between governmnents' non-linear fiscal rules -- which map past debt-GDP ratios to the current primary budget surplus/deficit -- and the sustainability of sovereign debt. This work is motivated by, but not limited to, the Euro area debt sovereign crisis. Many advanced economies, including the UK, are presently close to exhausting their 'fiscal space', i.e. the available room for fiscal expansion before sovereign default becomes inevitable. Understanding this link is therefore a crucial ingredient for optimal medium- and long-term budgetary design.
Prof Geoffrey Hayward
Historically my research has focussed around the design and implementation of educational pathways and processes that support people from disadvantaged backgrounds (broadly defined) to be successful in their lives. My current focus is on transitions into Higher Education and the labour market, particularly for those who have progressed in upper secondary education through vocational routes. This means that my research also covers vocational and Higher Education policy, issues of learning transfer between contexts, and fundamental issues in the philosophy of education such as the nature of ‘powerful’ knowledge. I utilise both quantitative and qualitative research designs to answer the research questions of interest. Most recently I have been working on a Gatsby Foundation funded project on The Science, Education and Technology Teaching Workforce in English FE Colleges and a Nuffield Foundation project, Implementing the post-16 mathematics agenda: the mathematics teacher workforce in the Further Education sector. I am also currently collaborating with colleagues in Uganda and Ghana on research into agricultural education.
We know that the effects of disadvantage start early with a gap in attainment on linguistic tests clearly observable by age 2. Thus, my research focus is now shifting to early years interventions that might help to close that gap which is too often amplified by the schooling system. To this end I am working with the China Centre for Strategic Studies at Peking University to imagine reforms to early years education that will enable us to support young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
Prof Jan Maciejowski
My main interest is in the control of dynamic systems using real-time optimisation to make ‘on-the-fly’ decisions in various engineering and management contexts. This can also be seen as ‘dynamic re-planning’, namely continuous revision of decisions over some future planning horizon in the light of latest information (from measurements, usually). In recent years I have studied this approach to spacecraft control (Mars sample-recovery mission), flight control (especially fault-tolerant control), air-traffic management, and energy reduction in paper-making. Application to industrial networks containing both generators and consumers of electrical and thermal power is a current area of investigation, with the objective of reducing waste, and hence minimising carbon footprint as well as direct costs. Technically this work involves studying convex and non-convex numerical optimisation problems, and their solution on special-purpose hardware such as Field-Programmable Gate Aarrays and Graphical Processing Units. But my emphasis is on how to apply such tools to solve problems, rather than on the development of the optimisation algorithms themselves. I am also looking at combining the approach outlined above with machine learning (aka ‘artificial intelligence’).
Prof Norman Fleck
Prof. Fleck works mainly in the field of Micromechanics: understanding mainly the mechanical behaviour of engineering materials from the perspective of microstructure. This subject is closely related to solid mechanics and fracture mechanics, and is of wide scope: it encompasses the invention of new classes of composite material ranging from ceramic matrix composites to metallic foams. Prof. Fleck has close industrial links and has had recent projects with BP and MHI (Japan) on hydrogen embrittlement of metals, SABIC on the manufacture and properties of nanofoams, GKN on magnetic composites, and with Boeing and Damen shipbuilding on the failure of adhesive joints. Repeatedly it is found that an applied practical problem indicates a gap in a fundamental understanding in engineering science: Prof. Fleck relishes basic research that helps lead to industrial breakthroughs.
My research interests cover include nanomaterials growth, modelling, characterization, and devices. In particular, the field of graphene and related materials, from bulk production, through mass scale identification by optical and spectroscopic means, to their implementation in composites, printed and flexible electronics, lasers, photo-detectors, microcavities, plasmonic enhanced structures, batteries, supercapacitors and energy harvesting.
Prof Gabor Csanyi
My broad field is computational science. Modelling the world at the atomic scale is at the intersection of chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering. Within the confines of everyday processes, the fundamental equations governing matter are well known since the development of quantum mechanics in the mid-twentieth century. However, in order to predict or interpret the outcome of all but the simplest experiments requires the numerical simulation of the atoms, electrons and their interaction. My research is concerned with making step-changes in the efficacy of such simulations. Modern machine learning and other methods of applied mathematics hold the promise of "bottom-up" predictive simulations on previously unimaginable scales and accuracy, enabling the discovery of new materials and the deeper understanding of biochemical processes.
Dr Guillaume Hennequin
I am a theoretical neuroscientist seeking to understand how neurons work together to drive intelligent, adaptive behaviour. I use methods from stochastic dynamical systems and control theory, together with statistical / machine learning approaches, to construct and analyse model brain networks that learn to solve critical computations such as perceptual inference and motor control. My group's main aim is to reverse-engineer brain computation, by analysing the strategies that the models use to perform optimally in the tasks that they have been trained for. I also interact with neurophysiologists and analyse neural recordings in the light of the theories that we develop.
Dr Mark Wormald
The main focus of my research for the past few years, and currently, has been the poetry of Ted Hughes. With two senior Hughes scholars, Terry Gifford and Neil Roberts, I have co-edited one book of essays on Hughes’ work, Ted Hughes: from Cambridge to Collected (2013), based on a conference held at Pembroke in 2010, and another proposal, for a book entitled Ted Hughes: Nature and Culture, based on a conference in Sheffield in 2015, is being considered by Bloomsbury academic. I am writing a book about the intimate relationship between Hughes’ poetry and fishing called The Catch, and I have a contract for its publication with Little Toller Books in 2018. Since January 2016 I have also edited the Ted Hughes Society Journal; two issues have appeared in that time.
In my work I am pursuing a form of emphatically practical criticism: I seek to situate some of Hughes’ greatest poetry by recovering its indebtedness to particular places and friendships. My means of doing so has been to fish in Hughes’ footsteps, and my book combines close readings of the poems and the diaries from which they emerged with an account of my own journeys into their world. On completion of the book I will be undertaking a study of the close but hitherto unregarded triangular relationship between Hughes, Seamus Heaney and the painter Barrie Cooke. Thereafter, I intend to return to and complete a draft, almost complete, of a book-length study of Kazuo Ishiguro.
Dr Alex Houen
My general research interests include: modern and contemporary fiction and poetry (particularly poetry sequences); war literature; avant-gardes; post-structuralism; performativity; affects; sacrifice; aesthetics of suspension. I am currently working on three book projects: a collection of essays that I'm co-editing with Dr Jan-Melissa Schramm entitled /Sacrifice and Modern War Literature: Battle of Waterloo to the War on Terror/; a monograph examining sacrifice and war literature from 1914 to 2014; and a large edited collection of essays on affects and literature. For more details, see my Faculty staff page: https://www.english.cam.ac.uk/people/Alex.Houen/
Dr Mina Gorji
My research focuses on 19th century poetry and poetics (especially Romanticism), and I have an abiding interest in the poetry of John Clare. I have published a study of his poetry as well as numerous essays on his writing and am also a co-founder and co-director of The Centre for John Clare Studies in Cambridge.
Much of my work investigates the relationship between social formations and literary language and form: I have published work on poetic awkwardness and rudeness, working class poetics, and am currently thinking about the relationship between lyric poetry and popular culture, focusing on Christina Rossetti's neglected volume 'Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book'.
Other areas of interest include cultures of noticing and literary ecology/ eco-criticism. I am also a published poet and have had poems appearing, among other places, in Carcanet's 'New Poetries V',Magma, PN Review, London Magazine and The International Literary Quarterly.
Prof Jon Parry
My current research project [for which I have a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship 2015-18] concerns British attitudes to the Middle East 1798-1854. By ‘Middle East’ I mean the territories of the Ottoman Empire outside Europe, focusing on Egypt, Arabia, Palestine and modern-day Iraq, since these were the areas of most concern to the British in protecting the route between Britain and India. Necessarily I also need to understand the role of the British in Persia, India, the Mediterranean and the Balkans, as well as at Constantinople itself. The project came out of a third-year course that I taught on British attitudes to the area which combined political, religious, cultural and economic approaches, and looked at travellers, archaeologists and missionaries as well as diplomats. It is still my intention to draw on all these approaches in writing about this subject, and to show the connections between them. Nonetheless the core of the project is political. It aims to show that the British became committed to the area much earlier than most people realise, within a few years of Napoleon’s brief occupation of Egypt in 1798 – in order to prevent the French and/or Russians from getting a foothold. It also tackles the conundrum that they did so while mostly loathing the Ottomans themselves; the more I read, the more I realise that most of those who knew about the area had none of the illusions about Ottoman rule that it is sometimes assumed that they did, and never realistically hoped to reform them (except through the constant application of discreet British pressure). Therefore it was all the more important for British representatives to engage relatively constructively with local chiefs, forces and religions - whether Arabs, Kurds or Jews - in the regions of particular concern to them.
Before this project most of my research was on nineteenth-century British domestic politics and political culture, and I still publish work in this area from time to time, most recently on Disraeli’s ideas.
Dr Caroline Burt
I work on medieval British political and social history from around 1150 to about 1450, and am primarily interested in kingship, leadership, power, authority and governance. I have written several articles on Edward I (1272-1307) and Edward II (1307-27) in particular and a monograph on the rule of Edward I in England published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press. I am currently working on a monograph on England in the 13th and 14th centuries under contract with Faber. This focuses on the development of the state in the context of two turbulent centuries that commenced with Magna Carta and ended with the second deposition in English medieval history, that of Richard II in 1399. I am also keen to begin work more formally on the growing body of literature on issues of diversity and equality, but that would not be as a historian.
Dr Paul Cavill
My research relates to politics and religion in late medieval England and early modern England. Within that field, my work has tended to pivot around the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The consequences of the Wars of the Roses and the causes of the Break with Rome thus loom large in my thinking. I examine points of principle thrown up by the (often novel, sometimes contentious) demands of government at that time. Legal sources form the basis for much of my research. I approach the history of parliament – a large part of my work – chiefly by studying the origins, passage, and enforcement of legislation. Therefore I define myself as a historian of the constitution. A current interest is the changing jurisdiction of the different legal systems that operated in England: the common, canon, and civil laws, as administered in the many and varied ecclesiastical and secular courts. I address this subject partly by exploring the definition, prosecution, and punishment of crime. I am concentrating on those offences that migrated between jurisdictions, of which heresy seems especially significant. I hope eventually to write a book on a cause célèbre of 1514 that combined heresy, murder, and suicide. The Elizabethan and Jacobean recovery of a vision of the medieval polity – of England’s ‘ancient constitution’ – is another interest of mine. At present, I am co-editing a collection of essays on Tudor and early Stuart historiography. Much antiquarian research in this period was undertaken with a view to refining the relationship between Church and state, with which topic much of my work engages.
Dr Waseem Yaqoob
My current research challenges existing explanations of the history of modern German political thought. While most scholars understand modern German political thinking in terms of an obsession with the state, my research shows instead that the ’state' was an unstable concept, constantly re-negotiated and situated in light of concerns about geopolitics, global economics, and the conflict between culture and technology. Drawing on extensive archival research, I reveal new continuities and discontinuities across the period 1890 to 1968, going beyond the conventional breaking points of 1918/19, 1933 and 1945. I examine the concepts Germans used to understand and argue about politics as arising from and contributing to to debates about secularization, democratization, capitalism, and European integration. In contrast to much of the English-language literature I situate political ideas in historical context, investigating them in their institutional, political, regional and confessional milieus, while also showing how theorists used them across these boundaries. The work will reassess how German political thought changed through a century of catastrophic political experience. It draws on 'Herrschaft and Gewalt from the Kaiserreich to the Berlin Republic', a series of collaborative international workshops I am running with funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Dr Paul Warde
I work on the environmental, economic and social history of early modern and modern Europe. My interests lie in particular in the history of energy use and its relationship with social, economic and political development, and environmental change. I have worked extensively on peasant societies in early modern Europe, and their use and exchange of commodities, especially wood, and the effects on management of the land and forests; on the Industrial Revolution and the scale and consequences of shifts from 'traditional' energy carriers to fossil fuels and new renewable forms of energy supply; and on the history of environmental and economic thought, especially key concepts like 'sustainability' and 'environment'. Current projects include a major study of the resource requirements for European and North American trade flows between 1850 and 1970, and patterns of the international exchange of resources or resources embodied in finished products; the energy history of the Scandinavian Arctic; and the development of fuel use in early modern Britain. I am currently co-editing books on interdisciplinary approaches to energy policy; and a cultural history of water and power infrastructure in the UK.
Dr Nicola Kindersley (Harry F Guggenheim RF)
Nicki works on questions of governance and social order in fragmented states and remote borderlands, focusing on central-eastern Africa with a special interest in Sudan and South Sudan. She specialises in the history of forced migration in the region. Her work aims to elucidate how people understand and order their societies in deeply insecure and often-dangerous contexts where a formal state apparatus is either absent, or militarised and violent.
Nicki's research currently centres on the history of military-civilian organisation, including various rebel and militia orders, across the Uganda-South Sudan-Congo-Sudan borders. She has worked an EU study of informal customary-military legal systems in South Sudan, as well as conducting research for the Department of International Development, the Australian Government, and with the Peace Research Institute in Oslo. Nicki aims to be an activist-academic: she works with colleagues at the University of Juba in South Sudan on research and public lectures to support debate and intellectual culture; and worked as coordinator of the South Sudan National Archives reclamation project with the Rift Valley Institute.
Dr Allegra Fryxell (Trebilcock-Newton RF)
Dr Allegra Fryxell is the Trebilcock-Newton Research Fellow in history. She is a cultural historian of modern Europe, focusing on the interactions between the arts and sciences in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and America.
Her PhD monograph explores conceptions of non-linear or non-chronological time from the fin-de-siècle to the Second World War, whilst her new postdoctoral project examines the metaphysical meanings and medicinal functions associated with colour — particularly coloured light — in modernism. This project will develop her discussion of spiritualist and theosophical understandings of time in her doctoral research by adding another dimension (colour) to modernism’s ‘invisible’ universe.
She is also writing the official biography of Georg Tugendhat (1898-1973) a Viennese émigré to Britain who was central to the development of Britain’s domestic petroleum industry from the 1930s. Publications include Tugendhat’s biography as well as articles on interwar British 'Egyptomania', the contributions of Canadian aboriginal soldiers in the First World War, perspectives on time/temporality in history, Austrian actions at the Battle of Caporetto in October 1917, and the history of phenomenological psychiatry in the 1920s-1930s.
History of Art
Professor Polly Blakesley
Rosalind Polly Blakesley works on painting, architecture and the decorative arts in modern Europe, with particular interests in the art and culture of imperial Russia, and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Focusing on eighteenth- to early twentieth-century developments, her research aims to recalibrate the geographical compass of art history by examining regions underrepresented in scholarship, and dismantle the national frameworks within which these have invariably been viewed by addressing broader trans-cultural debates. She also considers important but unfamiliar material in Europe’s margins through the prism of museum studies, performance studies, and feminist art history, many of which are inchoate or developing fields in the regions concerned. Specific areas of interest include the impact in Russia of formative cultural figures, from Joshua Reynolds to William Morris and Emile Zola; the internationalism of key Russian artists and institutions; and work on Russian women, which rethinks assumptions about female artistic agency in the broader European sphere. Collectively, the research aims to instantiate Russian art within the European mainstream, and forge an innovative conceptual path for the transnational formation of supposedly national schools. Recent outputs include a monograph, The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia, 1757-1881 (2016), and the co-edited volume, From Realism to the Silver Age (2014). Blakesley co-directs the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre, which generates and promotes research in Russia and Soviet art, collaborates with Russia’s key centres of art historical enquiry, and organises conferences and symposia with partners including the Royal Academy, the V&A, Moscow State University, and Yaroslavl State University. Blakesley has also curated exhibitions in London, Moscow, and Washington DC and is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, London, for whom she curated and wrote the catalogue for the acclaimed exhibition Russia and the Arts in 2016.
Dr Hildegard Diemberger
Hildegard Diemberger is the Research Director of the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (MIASU) at the University of Cambridge and the Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Pembroke College. Trained as a social anthropologist and Tibetologist at Vienna University, she has published numerous books and articles on the anthropology and the history of Tibet and the Himalaya, including the monograph When a Woman becomes a Religious Dynasty: the Samding Dorje Phagmo of Tibet (Columbia University Press 2007), the edited volume Tibetan Printing – Comparisons, Continuities and Change (Brill 2016) and the English translation of two important Tibetan historical texts (Austrian Academy of Science 1996, 2000). She has designed and coordinated a number of research projects funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the Austrian Science Fund. She is currently the general secretary of the International Association for Tibetan Studies.
Building on her anthropological work in Tibet and the Himalaya and her exploration of Tibetan archives and textual collections, she has focused on the study of Tibetan local histories; environmental knowledge and land management on the Tibetan plateau; the restoration of local cultural heritage; Buddhism and its revival; territory and identity; gender and kinship in Asian societies; space and time in a cross-cultural perspective. She has also worked on history and memory in the Italian Alps and debates over continuity, tradition and modernity. She is currently involved in specific research projects on the understanding of environmental challenges and the changing climate, the materiality of texts and their digital transformations, gender in Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibet-Mongolia interface.;
Dr Iza Hussin
The construction of the contemporary category of 'Islamic law' in modern states, particularly in the struggle between local and colonial elites in British India, Malaya and Egypt. Islam and constitutional design in nineteenth century Asia, with an analytic focus on the ways in which law travels: its networks, agents, material flows and chronologies. Law and the politics of jurisdictional struggle. Comparative religion and politics in contemporary states, with a focus politics, Islam, law, history, religion
Dr Sertaç Sehlikoglu (Abdullah Mubarak Al Sabah RF)
Dr Sertaç Sehlikoglu is a social anthropologist working on gender and subjectivity specialised on Turkey and the Middle East, currently the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Research Fellow in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Pembroke College, Cambridge. She analyses human subjectivity in relation to seemingly mundane and trivial aspects of everyday life and investigates the creative capacities of human agency. Sehlikoglu is particularly interested in desire in wider social, economic and religious conventions. Her PhD work maps out the dynamic interactions between a) the intangible aspects of human subjectivity, such as desires, aspirations, and longings and b) the historical, religious, political, and familial makings of social life.
Sehlikoglu's current project at Pembroke analyses the dreams, aspirations, and desires which the new Turkish Islamic elites have for the future of the nation and of the ümmet (the Islamic nation) and how those dreams of the privileged are connected to the (fading) dreams of others.
She is currently conducting data, through interviews and field visits, for her fellowship project while revising her book manuscript for publication.
Prof Colin Lizieri
My research field is broadly that of real estate economics and my specific focus is on the interactions between capital flows, commercial real estate markets and urbanisation. Much of my research has focussed on office markets in major global cities and financial centres. The physical transformation of city centres has been accompanied by changing patterns of ownership and challenges to the ability of city governments to manage development. Real estate markets lock capital to places, but also serve to link those places to global (financial) systems with economic benefits but also enhanced risks for those centres. My work has examined the ownership shifts, the concentration of investment in a small group of powerful “gateway” cities and the investment performance of property markets in those cities. Increasingly, this is pointing to the importance of land ownership and land-use regulation as key factors in urban development, a topic that has been somewhat neglected recently. In wider context, the risks are linked to another strand of my work, which examines the role of real estate in mixed asset investment portfolios and the behaviour and motivations of different types of owners in reaching strategic investment decisions. More recently, my work has touched on the relationship between investment, urbanisation and real estate and the capacity for the real estate sector to contribute to more sustainable and resilient cities.
Prof Trevor Allan
My research in legal and constitutional theory is chiefly focused on the moral and political ideal of the Rule of Law. My recent book, The Sovereignty of Law, presents a theory of the Rule of Law as it applies to the unwritten (uncodified) UK constitution. I defend a vision of the Rule of Law as a charter of basic freedoms, ascertained chiefly by reference to common law tradition—fundamental constitutional rights affirmed by judicial precedent. My current work focuses on the nature of legal reasoning, seeking to show it as a branch of moral reasoning—deliberation over the nature and scope of the rights and duties legitimately enforced as law. I am exploring the connections between the Rule of Law and constitutional rights, the idea of separation of powers, and the legal doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty.
Mr Nick McBride
My major focus is on a two volume book called 'The Humanity of Private Law', which I have the promised the publishers (Hart Publishing) that I will submit by October 2018. (I spent the majority of my leave last year working on this book and have now written five chapters for it.) In the first volume I argue that English private law can be best explained as seeking to promote the flourishing of its subjects; I set out the particular vision of what human flourishing involves that (I claim) English private law seeks to realise and show how most of English private law can be seen as organised around that vision. The second volume criticises English private law on the ground that the vision of human flourishing that its rules and doctrines draw on, while widely endorsed in the West, is actually incorrect. The second volume sets out a different, more authentic, vision of what human flourishing involves and asks what private law would look like if it were based on that vision. I am also due to produce new editions of all of my books by October 2017 - my 1,000 page textbook on tort law (currently in its 5th edition), my book Letters to a Law Student (currently in its 3rd edition), and my book Great Debates in Jurisprudence (which is still just in its 1st edition) - as well as writing (by June 2017) a new book, a small 50,000 word book on Contract Law for a series called 'Key Ideas in Law' that I am the editor of (also published by Hart Publishing). I am also working on four or five different papers for various conferences and journals.
Prof John Bell
John Bell is currently researching two distinct areas within comparative law. The first concerns the German law of non-contractual liability: in what circumstances is one person liable to another for harming his or her basic protected interests? The second concerns French public law: to what extent does the law control the activities of the organs of government and the administration within the French Fifth Republic. Both areas of work are based primarily on sources written in languages other than English.
Dr Sarah Nouwen
Dr Sarah Nouwen works on the intersections of international law and politics, war and peace, and justice and the rule of law. Having published extensively on the International Criminal Court, and in particular the effects of its involvement in African states, she is now conducting a major ESRC and Leverhulme Trust-funded research project titled "Peacemaking: What's Law Got to Do with It?" Studying peace processes ranging from Dayton (Bosnia) to Doha (Darfur) and from Juba (the Lord's Resistance Army) to Kuwait (Yemen), she explores when putative international norms influence peace processes and how. A particular area of interest are norms related to transitional justice: a field that concerns the way a state deals with a past characterised by human rights violations. She is also editing a book on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (2005), a special issue of a journal on the the effects of International Commissions of Inquiry and the Oxford Handbook on International Criminal Law. international criminal law, transitional justice, peace negotiations, peacemaking, human rights, law & politics, Sudan, International Criminal Court
Prof Christoph Loch
Professor Loch’s research lies in the field of innovation in organisations; it focuses on the management of innovation processes, and project management more broadly; including innovation strategy; projects under high uncertainty; the emotional aspect to the motivation of professional project workers, and project supervision and governance. The results of this research enable organisations to make innovation happen more effectively.
Dr Nilanjana Datta
The main field of my current research is Quantum Information Theory (QIT), which is a relatively young and rapidly developing field of science. It lies at the intersection of Quantum mechanics and Classical Information Theory (CIT). Quantum Mechanics is the fundamental theory of nature at the small scales and energy levels of atomic and subatomic particles. CIT s the theory of acquisition, storage, transmission and processing of information. It pervades our daily lives. QIT is the theory of how such tasks can be accomplished when quantum-mechanical particles (e.g. electrons and photons) are used as information carriers. It has been shown that the novel features of Quantum Mechanics can be exploited not only to improve the performance of certain information-processing tasks, but also to accomplish tasks which are impossible in the classical realm. QIT is an exciting, inter-disciplinary field which has been shaped by mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists and engineers. My research is on mathematical aspects of this fascinating field.
Dr Giovanni Rosso
I work in Mathematics and my research domain is number theory. More precisely, I study the interplay between algebra (Galois representations), analysis (automorphic forms) and geometry (motives). In particular, I am interested in how the values of a certain function (the so-called L-function) associated with a Galois representation coming from an automorphic form controls the arithmetic of the Galois representation. To do this, I use p-adic deformations.
Dr Richard Webb
Recently with Mark Bell (UIUC) I have given a polynomial-time algorithm to determine whether a mapping class (topological symmetry of a surface; think for example mixing patterns of rods immersed in a fluid) is pseudo-Anosov (mixing). Currently we are finding a polynomial-time algorithm to solve the "conjugacy problem" in the mapping class group.
Pure mathematics. Group theory. Geometry and topology in low dimensions. Geometric group theory. Surfaces, mapping class groups, Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, outer automorphisms. Computational complexity of problems in geometry, topology and groups
Prof Robin Franklin
In my laboratory we study the mechanisms of Central Nervous System (CNS) regeneration with a particular focus on remyelination, a regenerative process mediated by adult stem cells, in which new myelin sheaths are restored to demyelinated axons. Using a wide range of experimental approaches we are examining extrinsic (environmental) and intrinsic (transcriptional/epigenetic) factors that govern the responses of adult neural stem cells to injury and their differentiation into oligodendrocytes and other glia following CNS injury. Although our work is laboratory based science, the potential medical benefits of this research are to provide a treatment for the currently untreatable secondary progressive phase of multiple sclerosis.
Prof Kenneth Smith
I am Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. My laboratory studies basic immunological mechanisms and how defects in regulatory control of the immune system can lead to autoimmunity and alter defence against infection. The laboratory also runs a translational programme in autoimmune disease (particularly SLE, vasculitis and IBD) that has led to the discovery of a prognosis-predicting biomarker entering clinical trials, and to the identification of new pathways driving disease outcomes in autoimmunity and infection. By integrating human and animal studies and using state-of-the-art bioinformatic methodology, the laboratory can explore immunological mechanisms that are relevant to human disease, and to translate these results into applications of direct benefit to patients.
Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly
I am interested in the aetiology and pathophysiology of human metabolic and endocrine disease and how such information might be used to improve in the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of these diseases. One major area of continuing interest is to better understand why some people are very susceptible to obesity and others seem resistant. We can learn quite a bit about this from human genetics but those discoveries need to be better integrated with growing fundamental knowledge regarding processes controlling energy intake and expenditure. I am also very interested in why people, particularly those who become obese, become resistant to the glucose lowering effects of the hormone insulin. Again the integration of human genetics with basic studies in cells and disease models will be necessary to advance our understanding. Working at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories/MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit, provides an environment where I can collaborate freely with a wide range of Principal Investigators, a subset of whom are previous trainees from my lab, who have complementary interests and expertise.
Prof Randall Johnson
Prof Chris Young
My research falls into 2 broad areas: medieval German literature and the history of modern sport (with an emphasis on Germany and Europe).
In the former, I am currently completing a 5-year project, which received major funding from the AHRC (£950K), to edit the 12C medieval German Kaiserchronik (Chronicle of the Emperors). This is the first verse chronicle in any European vernacular, and runs from Julius Caesar to the time of composition, c. 1150. The project will produce, for the first time, a critical edition of the work's 3 recension (with a translation, commentary and critical apparatus) - each recension is c. 18,000 lines. There will also be full digital presentation of all 50 manuscripts, complete with searchable transcriptions.
In the latter: I am writing up the book I researched with the help of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship on the history of German sport and the media in the 1920s and 1930s. For the first time, this book considers all the evidence of film, newsreel, radio, and the press - and should produce an innovative account of a period and theme that scholarship believes already to understand well.
Addition, I am co-director of a multi-national project on sport in the Cold War, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and run under the umbrella of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC.
Prof Sylvia Huot
My work in medieval French literature focuses on three principal areas Arthurian romance, courtly allegory in the tradition of the 'Roman de la Rose', and the reception and rewriting of myths from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'. I engage with a range of theoretical approaches, including postcolonial theory, queer theory, and gender theory. My current research tends to look at ways in which concepts of race, gender, and sexuality work to define medieval ideas of human identity--both in terms of particular cultural identity positions, and in terms of distinguishing humans from other beings such as animals, giants, and fairies. My most recent book, published in 2016, is 'Outsiders: The Humanity and Inhumanity of Giants in Medieval French Prose Romance'. I am currently developing a book project on desire, sexuality, and subjectivity in late medieval French love allegory and Ovidian narratives.Arthurian romance; allegory; mythography; gender; sexuality and human identity
Dr Sam Barrett
My research lies primarily in the field of the early medieval Latin lyric, broadly defined as stretching from the sixth through to the eleventh centuries. It has principally involved recreating a previously overlooked cultural practice, namely the singing of Latin song in large abbeys, monasteries and cathedrals of the early Middle Ages. Through identification of new notated sources and teasing out of the implications of unnotated song collections, it has become clear that sung verse in Latin in this period rivals in its extent and artistic refinement more famous repertories of medieval lyric recorded from the twelfth century onwards. It has proved possible to make breakthroughs in recovering repertories previously considered lost, developing ways of analysing melodies that cannot be wholly reconstructed and identifying procedures used to create melodies for verse. Research based on historical sources has more recently extended into collaboration with experienced modern performers of medieval music, drawing on their embodied knowledge of performing coeval repertories, their stored oral memory of melodic formulae, and the affordances of surviving and reconstructed instruments. Manuscript study, recovery of the implications of the earliest surviving medieval musical notations, analysis of medieval Latin verse, and practical experimentation through collaboration with modern performers form complementary aspects of a reconstructive process that extends from philology through to performance. Interest in improvisation, mnemonic notational systems, the musical competence of performers, the art of melody in modal systems, and the creative potential of musical instruments also informs more occasional research in jazz studies, especially modal jazz of the 1950s and 1960s.
Prof Mike Payne
Professor Mike Payne works on atomistic scale quantum mechanical methods. In principle, these parameter free methods allow us to predict the physical, chemical and, even, biological properties of systems given only the atomic numbers or, equivalently, the chemical names of the constituent atoms. His research has generated a number of widely used software packages, some of which are sold commercially. The most widely used is CASTEP which allows quantum mechanical calculations to be performed on systems containing hundreds of atoms. CASTEP was the first such software package that was both easy to use and robust enough to be used by non-specialists and, hence, could be incorporated into a commercial product. It was licenced to Molecular Simulations (now Biovia) in 1995 and has cumulative sales in excess of $38million.His next major software project was the ONETEP code. This code offers the same type of scientific capability as CASTEP but has more efficient scaling of computational cost with the size of system and, thus, can be applied to systems containing many thousands of atoms, for instance entire proteins. ONETEP is also sold commercially by Biovia and has cumulative sales in excess of $5 million. More recently, Professor Payne has collaborated on a number of projects with Professor Csanyi developing methods that (i) seamlessly link quantum mechanical calculations with methods that use simple models to describe the interactions between the atoms; (ii) use machine learning methods to generate the interactions between the atoms thus recreating quantum mechanical accuracy but at much lower computational cost; and (iii) are capable of computing complete phase diagrams of materials.
Prof Nigel Cooper
Nigel Cooper is a theoretical physicist who works on understanding novel phases of matter -- i.e. beyond those familiar from everyday experience, such as the solid, liquid, and gas phases of water. His research focuses on novel phases of matter that appear in situations where the motion of the constituent particles must be described by the laws of quantum mechanics. One setting where quantum mechanics becomes important is for electrons moving through a metal or semiconductor: the quantum nature of their motion can give rise to novel phases of the 'electron gas', for example the superconducting phase in which electrons can flow without friction. Another setting, only recently achieved in laboratory experiments, is when dilute gases of atoms are cooled to so-called 'ultracold' temperatures (less than 1 millionth of a degree above absolute zero). His work explores the collective properties of these unusual ultracold gases, with the view to discover new phases of matter, which could have application to precision sensors based on ultracold atomic gases, or which could inform us of new forms of behaviour that might also appear for electrons in novel electronic materials. Areas of specialization include: topological phases of matter semiconductor devices, ultracold atomic gases, and atom-light interactions.
Prof Lauren Kassell
1) The Casebooks Project. This is a digital edition of one of the largest surviving sets of medical records in history, the 80,000 astrological consultations recorded by two seventeenth-century astrologers. It has been funded by £2million from the Wellcome Trust, and is scheduled for completion in summer 2018. Through it, I am engaged in three fields of work: a) digital humanities, b) histories of medical records and patient-practitioner relationships, c) the history of astrology, d) artist-research collaborations.
2) Generation to Reproduction. This project has been running for more than a decade, headed by Nick Hopwood with me as the unofficial deputy. It is also funded by the Wellcome Trust. As its culmination, Nick Hopwood, Rebecca Flemming and I are editing a field-defining book about reproduction from antiquity to the present day. Work in the history and sociology of reproduction is growing exponentially, Cambridge, in part thanks to Sarah Franklin (Sociology), and we have nurtured numerous doctoral and postdoctoral scholars in the field.
I also have long-standing interests in the histories of early modern medicine and the history of the occult, especially in England. I am developing a project on ‘How to live forever’.
I am one of the founders and co-directors, together with Stephen John, Sarah Franklin (Sociology) and Maryon McDonald (Social Anthropology) of a new MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society. This is tied to a research network by the same name.
Finally, since it’s useful for building research networks, I have a lot of experience on Wellcome Trust funding committees, as well as in securing their awards; I sit on various digital humanities committees; and I am on the research libraries UK special collections advisory group.
Dr Sanne Cottaar
Earthquakes and volcanoes are direct observations that we live on a dynamic planet. While earthquakes are a symptom, they also provide the source for seismological imaging of the deep Earth. Seismological imaging uses earthquake waves recorded around the globe to map structures and processes at depth. My work focuses on mapping various features across the mantle and core using waves that propagate, reflect and convert due to deep anomalous velocity structures. To understand my seismological observations in terms of composition and dynamics, I use results from experiments and computations on the behaviour of minerals under high pressures and temperatures combined with geodynamical models. When zooming my focus in on specific regions and layers within the Earth, the resulting image is generally more heterogeneous and complex than previously expected, which leads to new understanding of the physical processes within our planet and planetary bodies in general.
Dr Tim Weil
For centuries scientists have been pondering and exploring how a single, symmetric cell can divide, differentiate and eventually develop into a highly organised and fully functioning organism. During early development, when an egg or embryo is first being organised, many signals are expressed in a highly controlled manner. One common way an egg (or any cell) can control signal production is through the regulation of RNA — the intermediate between genetic information stored in DNA and proteins (or signals) that carry out functions in the cell.
Of the many key steps required in this amazing process of animal development, my lab is especially interested in localised translation of RNA and egg activation. To further understand these two key steps, we use the fruit fly (Drosophila) as a model system since imaging, biochemistry and genetic approaches can be readily combined to examine molecular mechanisms. Nowhere is localised translation of RNA more apparent than in the patterning of the fruit fly body axis, where loss of control of translation leads to dramatic mutant phenotypes. Failure to control localised translation is implicated in a number of human diseases, including Fragile X Syndrome, schizophrenia, spinal muscular atrophy and cancer.
Egg activation is an equally important step for animal development. This universal event results in key cellular changes, including localised translation, that lead to embryogenesis. Since many of the factors we are testing in fruit flies are conserved in vertebrate systems, our work has important implications beyond insect biology. Overall our work aims to address the fascinating and fundamental question of how one cell becomes a fully functioning animal.
Dr Gos Micklem
Relatively recently biology has become a data-rich science and, apart from sheer data volume, has particular challenges with data complexity. To help address these needs my group develops an open source data integration platform (http://www.intermine.org) with support from the Wellcome Trust and US NIH/NHGRI. It is in use, primarily for genomics data, by groups around the world. Working in this area also involves us in projects on data standards and visualisation (e.g. funded by the BBSRC with the European Bioinformatics Institute and University of Edinburgh) and with data analysis collaborations.
A related interest is that of synthetic biology that seeks to engineer biological systems in a systematic fashion. Here, apart from data integration, we are interested in design tools as well as related laboratory work. For instance we have developed a tool to help biologists reconstruct ancestral protein sequences that can then be synthesised and brought back to life, as well as working to design and construct molecular biosensors.genomics data integration, analysis, visualisation synthetic biology
Prof Mark Wyatt
My research covers the topic of extrasolar planetary systems. The long term goal in this area is to find and characterise planets around nearby stars that are capable of, and may even have extraterrestrial life in some form. My main focus is on the asteroids and comets orbiting nearby stars, and what these tell us about the planetary systems in which they reside. These provide information on how the systems formed and evolved, the architecture of the planetary systems (which is usually unknown), and the possibility of water delivery to potentially habitable planets for example. My research also covers searches for extrasolar planets, the study of the Solar System, and evolved stars, and is a mix of observation and theory.
Funding environment: For the last 5 years my research has been funded by an ERC grant, but this ends December 2016. I will still have (less) funding from STFC, and have applied for another ERC grant. While future funding is uncertain, Exoplanets is a growth area in Astrophysics. Along with colleagues in Cavendish and DAMTP we have a plan to expand Exoplanet research in Cambridge, which is already an international centre of excellence in this area. At the IoA we are currently advertising a joint lectureship in this area with Earth Sciences (funded by the School of Physical Sciences), and the Kavli foundation is funding a decade of annual think tank Exoplanet workshops. We also have funding for the first Exoplanet Research Fellow, and are seeking funds to maintain an ongoing Fellowship program, as well as for other initiatives. Discussions with the Kavli foundation and for example, the Simons and Templeton foundations and Leverhulme Trust, are ongoing; CUDAR are supportive of the initiative.
Pembroke's involvement: I mention the funding situation to point out that Exoplanets is a growth area with potential for fund-raising, but also to note that CUDAR are already aware of this. Given this activity at Departmental/University level, how does Pembroke fit in? The search for life is an inherently interdisciplinary topic, covering Astronomy, Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Biology, as well as the humanities in a broader vision. As such it is well suited to study within a collegiate environment. Some ideas for now: (1) Exoplanets could potentially make good use of a Research Centre environment. For example in 2009 I organised a 4-month research program which hosted ~100 leading researchers at the Isaac Newton Institute. It might be possible to host a smaller (duration or scale) program at Pembroke, perhaps focussing on interdisciplinary aspects. (2) Pembroke would also provide an attractive conference venue, particularly for larger events (>150 participants) for which there is no venue on the Astronomy site.
Dr Hannah Mumby (Drapers’ RF)
My current research aims to characterise patterns of social and genetic relationships between male elephants. The rationale of the project is to link basic and applied science by studying the animals that are both less well researched from a biological perspective and most threatened from a conservation standpoint; adolescent and adult male elephants. At my field site in the Greater Kruger area, I identify the characteristics of males that are most connected within social and relatedness networks, including their body condition, age, tusk size and history of conflict-associated behaviour. Determining whether conflict-associated behaviors, such as crop raiding, may be a linked to what makes a male “evolutionarily successful” has implications for targeting conservation strategies. The project also aims to analyse communication between males within their fission-fusion groups. The first step in this is to record repeated rumbles of males in order to determine the context of male vocalisations and to test whether we can distinguish between individuals. I will then extend this to analysing population- and group-level variation in rumble context and structure, as well as manipulating and playing back vocalisations to elephants, something that has already been proposed as a human-elephant conflict mitigation strategy. My individual-based approach will allow researchers and rangers to focus conflict mitigation on “at-risk” individuals, for example by tracking their movements using satellite collars. I can also have direct impacts on legal hunting protocols and inform management about key individuals in elephant society.
I work closely with NGOs, particularly Elephants Alive, local communities and governmental agencies to ensure the project has maximal conservation impact. I also run environmental education programmes in South Africa and Hong Kong to transfer knowledge to young people at the supply and demand ends of the ivory trade. My research is funded by a Drapers’ Company Research Fellowship, Society in Science – Branco Weiss Fellowship, DST NRF Early Career Fellowship through the University of South Africa, NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility grant and the Cambridge-Africa Alborada Research Fund.wildlife, conservation, ecology, Africa, behaviour
Dr Nicholas Burton
Research interests: Genetics/Molecular Biology. Current research projects include (i) determining the molecular mechanisms by which a mother's environment can program her offspring's physiology, with a specific focus on how insulin-like signalling to a mother's oocytes (germ cells) can program offspring metabolism, and (ii) determining how a group of genes that encode the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex control cell growth and development and identifying potential therapeutic targets for cancers resulting from mutations in SWI/SNF complex genes.
Dr Johannes Bausch (Drapers’ RF)
My research focus is on quantum complexity theory, which is a field on the intersection between complexity theory from classical computer science and quantum physics. In particular, my interest is in how hard it is to computationally probe certain properties of quantum many-body systems, or -- in turn -- how such effects could be exploited to build novel computational models, suitable for tasks surpassing what classical computers can do, or to describe systems with exotic behaviour.
One particular interest of mine is how easy it is to estimate the ground state energy of condensed matter systems, and whether we can build systems which embed computation in an efficient manner; decidability of quantities like quantum phases or the existence of band gaps in the thermodynamic limit, as well as hardness of simulating quantum dynamics. A new area that I am starting to focus on is how machine learning could benefit from computational properties of quantum states with local parent Hamiltonians, and in turn how tools such as neural networks could help us describe quantum states more efficiently.
Dr Stephen John
Very broadly, I study philosophical aspects of the relationship between scientific and moral claims. More specifically, I am interested in debates at the intersection of philosophy of science, political philosophy and public health research and practice. At an even more specific level, I am interested in five concepts, which criss-cross the distinction between the epistemic and the evaluative: chance, certainty, categorisation, communication and causation. To give a more concrete sense of what this means, I have just finished a project looking at how philosophical analyses of the everyday notion of deceit relate to the case of scientific communication, studying, for example, when and whether a failure to communicate results counts as deceitful. I argued that this analysis has interesting implications for our understanding of the proper relationship between political institutions and ideologies and scientific practice; for example, in the case of Lysenkoist genetics and in the communication of climate change.
In my next project, I am intending to study three philosophical puzzles arising in the context of cancer screening policy (not, I know, a standard hunting ground for philosophers). First, a question in moral theory concerning how we should balance risks of harm to individuals against benefit to the population. We know cancer screening will save lives, but some will suffer unnecessary mastectomies – how should we balance these concerns? Second, a question in the ethics of communication, concerning the proper communication of risk. Different, equally well-validated, “risk models” may generate different estimates of the chance that an individual will develop cancer; this is unsurprising for philosophers of statistics, but raises an ethical question about how to decide which risk to communicate. Third, a question in philosophy of science about the nature of diagnosis. Some object to recent changes in diagnostic criteria for cancer that they will have negative social consequences, but how do we make sense of those concerns if we think that proper diagnosis is simply a matter of reflecting a mind-independent fact?
Mr Peter Epstein (Randall Dillard RF)
Rev’d Dr James Gardom
The nearest thing I have to a research project is finding out more about Diaspora Christianity in Cambridge. This is partly to make practical cooperations possible, and partly to assist with teaching. I have developed a very simple "Social Capital" model which helps to explain the different trajectories of Diaspora Christian groups, and why, for example, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles is like the Cambridge Korean Church, and the Kingsway International Christian Centre is like the Cambridge Open Korean Church.
I continue to travel and learn and read about Christianity outside Europe and the USA, also for lecturing and supervisions.
Prof Nick Davies
I am interested in how behaviour evolves in a changing world. My current work focusses on the interactions between cuckoos and their hosts, including: how cuckoos trick their hosts and how the hosts defend themselves against cuckoo parasitism; how cuckoo trickery and host defences co-evolve; how cuckoo chicks manipulate hosts when they beg for food; how hosts vary their costly defences in response to levels of parasitism, by both individual and social learning. The work involves a long-term study and field experiments on Wicken Fen. Behaviour, Evolution, Cuckoo