• 1.03 Sciences

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile


At high school I was lucky to be benefit from the hard work of very fine teachers. They encouraged my wide interests in mathematics, physics and history from a young age. Later, I spent four years at Oxford University studying Mathematics: three years for my BA, then a year for my MSc in Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Analysis. Afterwards I was employed in industry, devising predictive methods and computer programs for a diesel manufacturer. I moved on to Bristol University, to be employed as a research associate. There I worked for my PhD in breaking waves, and in postdoctoral research, all supervised by the late Professor D.Howell Peregrine. In Nov. 1992 I left Bristol to become a lecturer, now a senior lecturer, at UEA. 

Website: https://www.uea.ac.uk/mathematics/people/profile/m-cooker

Follow this link for details of current PhD opportunities in Mathematics. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Key Responsibilities


  • Disability Liaison Officer for MTH.  

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Applied Mathematics

Fluid Mechanics

Free surface flows and water waves.

My research is in the fluid mechanics of unsteady water waves, breaking waves and free surfaces. I have an ongoing interest in violent flows, such as splashes and liquid jets. One reason for trying to solve free boundary problems of this type is to account for the extremely high pressures and forces on structures struck by water waves, such as ships and harbour walls. The next time you are at the beach watching the waves, notice the jet or arch of water made by an overturning wave. It contains water whose acceleration can exceed 4g. When waves impact cliffs and seawalls the water undergoes even higher acceleration. Such impacts are an especially vigorous class of violent flow. Examples include (i) a sea wave breaking onto a vertical harbour wall, and (ii) a ship plunging into an oncoming series of waves (a `head-sea'). PhD students with my supervision have worked in these areas, e.g.  modelling the displacement of shingle and boulders on beaches struck by waves; another project was on the most highly accelerated liquid jets. I also have an interest in the safe landing of aircraft onto water (ditching) in recent PhD and postdoc projects. An on-going shared project, with a Visiting Fellow, is wave-impact forces on open structures, e.g. offshore wind turbines.


Sea waves; wave damage; mathematics of liquid motion; history of mathematics.

Teaching Interests

For undergraduates my lectures and project supervisions (maths and science students) embrace fluid mechanics (years 2,3,4) and the history of mathematics (year 3), particularly tracing ideas in the differential and integral calculus since the ancient Greeks. My lectures include a stream in `Maths for Scientists' for years 1-2. This includes complex numbers and differential eqs, integration, series and elementary fluid mechanics -- all elements in modelling natural processes. I have also lectured complex analyis to year-2 students. I have lectured at all academic levels from Basic Maths I and II (for Foundation-Years), all the way up to advanced topics for postgraduates, e.g. research skills and Nonlinear Waves. Final-year MMath + BSc projects include modelling oscillating lighted candles, how a person stays warm (or keeps cool), Spiral of Archimedes, wind gusts on trees, dynosaur flight, and how a thrown stone can bounce on the sea's surface. 

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bristol

30 Sep 19861 Mar 1990

Award Date: 1 Jan 1990

Master of Science, University of Oxford

10 Jan 19841 Sep 1985

Award Date: 30 Sep 1985

Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

1 Oct 19811 Jun 1984

Award Date: 1 Jul 1984


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