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Robert MacKay

University of Warwick


Robert MacKay FRS CPhys FInstP CMath FIMA is President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications for 2012-13, a Professor in the Mathematics Institute and Director of both the Centre for Complexity Science and Mathematical Interdisciplinary Research at Warwick.

He has made many contributions to the theory and applications of Nonlinear Dynamics. Highlights are the discovery and renormalisation explanation of how invariant tori break for Hamiltonian systems, a proof of existence of spatially localised time-periodic movements in networks of oscillators and analysis of their stability, interaction and mobility, construction and proof of a mechanical example of an Anosov system, and the construction of indecomposable spatially extended deterministic dynamical systems exhibiting more than one space-time phase.  His research was recognised by the first Stephanos Pnevmatikos International Award for Research in Nonlinear Phenomena (1993), a Junior Whitehead prize of the London Mathematical Society (1994), election to Fellowships of the Royal Society (2000), the (UK) Institute of Physics (2000) and the (UK) Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (2003), and entry to the ISI Highly cited list under Mathematics in 2008.  He has published 123 refereed journal articles, 46 articles in conference proceedings, lecture notes and similar, written 1 book and co-edited 1 reprint selection and 5 conference proceedings.

He has extensive research leadership and management experience, including establishing and running the Nonlinear Systems Laboratory at Warwick with Rand (1986-95) and the Nonlinear Centre in Cambridge (1995-2000), providing scientific direction for a King's College Cambridge research programme on Spatially Extended Dynamics (1998-2002), winning and coordinating an EC Research and Training Network on "Localisation and energy transfer" (2000-4), taking over Directorship of Mathematical Interdisciplinary Research at Warwick in 2000, and establishing the "Complex Complex" in 2006 (an association of research activities in Complexity Science at the University of Warwick) and the Centre for Complexity Science in 2007 with Ball.  He has been investigator on over 12 million pounds worth of research grants. Among currently funded and recently finished projects, he is PI of a grant from the Sloan Foundation (New York) on Management of Complex Systems, co-PI with Ball for an EPSRC doctoral training centre in Complexity Science, which took its first students in 2007, and was PI for an EPSRC Mathematics Symposium year at Warwick on "The mathematics of complexity science and systems biology" and co-investigator on a Technology Strategy Board award "Co-ordinate measuring robot".  He has hosted 31 postdoctoral fellows and supervised 27 PhD students (of whom 14 shared and 9 current) and 19 MSc dissertations or projects.

He was born on 4 July 1956, took secondary education at Newcastle-under-Lyme High School, and obtained a 1st class BA in Mathematics at Trinity College Cambridge, followed by a distinction in the Pt III Mathematics certificate.  He did a PhD in Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory under the supervision of JM Greene and MD Kruskal (awarded 1982).  Then he worked as a postdoctoral research assistant for IC Percival in Queen Mary College London for 11 months, spent 7 months at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES), Bures-sur-Yvette, France as a Professeur Invité, before taking up a "New Blood Lecturer" position in the Mathematics Institute of the University of Warwick in 1984.  He progressed to Reader and Professor, then spent a year at the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France, before moving to become Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at the University of Cambridge in 1995.  In 2000 he returned to the University of Warwick.  He was Professeur Invité at IHES again in 2006, Professeur visiteur in the department of Physics at Université Libre de Bruxellles for the academic year 2010/11, and will be Ordway Distinguished visitor at the University of Minnesota over Easter 2012.

Research Interests: