Professor Nikolaos Nikiforakis
Director of the Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science Technology and Innovation
Professor Nikos Nikiforakis studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Manchester. He received an MSc on Aerospace Propulsion and a PhD on computational combustion from Cranfield Institute of Technology. He joined the University of Cambridge in 1993 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Chemistry, where he worked on building computational models for the simulation of global atmospheric flows (stratospheric ozone depletion over Northern Latitudes). From 1996 he transferred to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, where he founded the Laboratory of Computational Dynamics (LCD).
Since 2008 he has been at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics), where he is the Head of the Laboratory for Scientific Computing, the Director for Academic Programmes of the Centre for Scientific Computing, the Course Director of the MPhil in Scientific Computing and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Methods for Materials Science.
Research: Nikos is pursuing research at fundamental level applied mathematics and physics, and transferring it to topical problems of critical importance to industry and the society, such as clean energy, national defence and aerospace safety.
His research focuses on the development and application of numerical algorithms and high performance computing methods for the simultaneous solution of systems of nonlinear partial differential equations for the direct numerical simulation and interaction of four states of matter (Computational Multiphysics) at extreme conditions.
Nikos has been involved with strategic university research partnerships with Jaguar Land Rover (EPSRC/JLR Programme for Simulation Innovation), Boeing and AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment). He has collaborations with several industrial partners including Tokamak Energy ltd, Schlumberger and Quaise Energy Inc.
Teaching: In 2010 Nikos established the Master’s (MPhil) in Scientific Computing, a course which is nationally and internationally recognised for its high-quality training and its comprehensive curriculum on advanced algorithms for computational physics and high performance computing.
Recently he has led a School of Physical Sciences strategic postgraduate teaching initiative to expand this MPhil and maintain the university’s position on world-class postgraduate education on this field. Apart from securing its long-term self-sustainability of the course and its significant educational and societal impact, this expansion generated eight new posts (three new tenured Associate/Assistant Professorships, two Senior Teaching Associate and three support posts) for the Department of Physics.
GAPSTI: In 2019 Nikos worked with Mrs Gianna Angelopoulos to materialise her commitment to support young scientists at the forefront of their fields, and to fulfil her vision to develop their work for world-changing impact. As a result, he led the establishment of a programme on science, technology and innovation (GAPSTI). The remit of GAPSTI is to take a holistic approach to identify societal and industrial needs, conduct research to address these needs and, in collaboration with University-based or commercial enterprise units, to pave the way to commercialisation. The initiative generated three new Associate Professorships and several PhD studentships.
Nikos is a Fellow, College Teaching Officer and Director of Studies in Mathematics at Selwyn College, Cambridge.