Professor Keith Moffatt FRS

Keith Moffatt is a mathematician who has made extensive contributions to the study of fluid mechanics. His principal area of expertise concerns the behaviour of electrically conducting fluids in the presence of magnetic fields, a field known as magnetohydrodynamics.

His research has shed light on numerous interesting problems, most notably the way in which turbulence can arise in a system governed by viscous flow. Keith is also known for his discovery of so-called ‘Moffatt eddies’ — the now eponymous turbulent patterns that arise in wedge-shaped regions of fluid. He has also published influential work on the large-scale magnetic fields generated by fluid motion in planets, stars and galaxies.

A member of numerous learned societies in Europe and the United States, Keith has won many of the most prestigious awards in his field. In addition to the Senior Whitehead Prize of the London Mathematical Society and the Royal Society’s Hughes Medal, in 2004 he received the Caribbean Congress of Fluid Dynamics Award.

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics

    Astrophysics, Solar physics

  • Engineering

    Fluid dynamics

  • Earth and environmental sciences



  • Hughes Medal

    For his contributions to the understanding of magnetohydrodynamics, especially to the mechanisms determining how magnetic fields can develop from a low background level to substantial amplitude.

  • Humphry Davy and Claude Bernard Lectures

    On 'Energy minimisation under topological restraints'.

Professor Keith Moffatt FRS
Elected 1986