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Personal profile

Overview

James Collett is a theoretical physicist, applied mathematician and research astronomer working in the STRI. In addition, he is an artist-photographer whose images reflect his interest in the optics of fluids and thin films. He is also strongly engaged in developing educational and outreach tools with particular interests in image-based learning and the design and construction of models and mechanical devices.

He began his career in the Pilkington Brothers European Research and Development Laboratories as part of the first team in the UK to develop holographic head-up displays for aircraft. He took his PhD in the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge working on analogies between classical invsicid fluids and the phase space flow of stars in galaxies. He worked on magnetohydrodynamic problems at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado under an EC Network Scholarship. He then worked as a PDRA in the Theoretical Physics Department at Oxford University, studying the problem of the resonant escape and capture of stars in time-varying potentials. Recent research interests include the role of magnetic fields in star-forming regions and the geometrical properties of phase flows.

Research interests

  • stellar dynamics
  • cosmical gas dynamics
  • applied mathematical modelling
  • specialist scientific applications in digital and film photography

Teaching specialisms

  • applied mathematics in physics and engineering
  • particle, fluid and continuum mechanics
  • theoretical astrophysics
  • image and problem-based learning

Commercial and public engagement

  • IOP Higher Education Group - Honorary Secretary
  • IOP Education Board
  • External Examiner: Applied Physics - University of Portsmouth
  • External Examiner: Natural Sciences - University of Leicester
  • External Examiner: ICE Astronomy - University of Cambridge
  • Trustee - Mill Green Museum
  • Exhibitor at Art Fairs around the world from New York to Singapore with the Bleachbox Gallery, Cambridge.

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