Research Fellows Directory
Sir John Ball FRS
University of Oxford
My research falls into two main areas:
1. The microstructure of alloys resulting from solid phase transformations in which the underlying crystal lattice changes shape at a critical temperature. This microstructure results from the product phase having to fit geometrically with both itself and the parent phase. Results from my research group have led to new predictions for steel, and for recently discovered ultra-low hysteresis alloys with spectacular properties.
2. Mathematical models of liquid crystals. These materials typically consist of rod-like molecules that are orientationally ordered (nematics and cholesterics) or both orientationally ordered and forming layers (smectics). They form the basis of many displays for computers, televisions, watches etc. My research group has been partly responsible for a renewed interest worldwide in mathematical models for this kind of soft matter, particularly the Landau - de Gennes model which is popular among physicists.
In both areas, the modern theory of nonlinear partial differential equations plays an important role.