|Professor in the Department of Computer Science||MCS 1018|
|Professor in the Department of Physics||ocw030|
|Member of the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation|
|Member of the Centre for Vision and Visual Cognition|
|Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing|
I am Professor in Computer Science & Physics. From 2016-2022 I led the formation of the new Department of Computer Science at Durham from the former School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. During my 5 years as head I oversaw the..
- Tripling of student numbers
- Tripling of academic staff numbers from around 18 to 50.
- Building of our new home - the Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science Building.
- A restructuring of the research groups.
- Launch of 3 new taught postgraduate masters programmes
- A philanthropically funded programme of scholarships in Computer Science.
Before the transition to Computer Science - I worked in Physics and Astronomy - and the photo below shows one of my other homes - The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics illuminated at its Opening.
Google Scholar (most complete)
Recent Roles & Responsibilities
- Head of the Department of Computer Science: 2017 - 2022
- Chair of the University TRAC & HESA Oversight Group: 2016 - Present
- Deputy Head of the Faculty of Science (Undergraduate Education Portfolio - now called Deputy Executive Dean): 2015 - 2017
- Director of Education, Department of Physics: 2012 - 2015
- Head of the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation: 2010 - 2014
- Professor 2011 - Present
- Reader 2005 - 2011
- Senior Lecturer 2004 - 2005
- Lecturer 1997 - 2004
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, & USAF Phillips Laboratory, USA
- Optical Physicist 1995 - 1997
Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, India:
- Royal Society Visiting Fellow 1992 – 1993
- Epiphany Term 2002: Visiting Position at the Cavendish Astrophysics Group, Cambridge.
- Epiphany Term 2007: Visiting Position at UC Berkeley, School of Optometry.
- Epiphany Term 2012: Visiting Position at the Medical University of Innsbruck,, Austria
My research involves optics and the physics of light. A common theme to my work has been adaptive and adaptable optics with a specific focus on liquid crystal devices and lenses. My early work was aimed at astronomy and large telescopes, before I diversified into biosciences and more recently vision science.
More generally, I am a physicist by background but I have worked with colleagues in engineering, computer science, psychology, maths, biosciences and even geography. My work has been returned to 3 different REF panels over my career.
My latest work involves the optics of the eye - I am interested in the mechanisms behind how the eye focusses light which has important ramifications for VR displays.
Selected External Appointments
- Member of the OfS TRAC Development Group 2019 - Present
- External Examiner, University of York, Dept. of Physics, 2016-2020
- Council Member, Institute of Physics, 2010-2014
- Conference Chair, Photon14, Imperial College, London, Sept. 2014
- Member, STFC IPS (Innovations Partnership Scheme) Panel, 2010-2013
- External Examiner for Imperial College’s MSc in Optics and Photonics, 2007-2010
- Chair of the Institute of Physics’ Optical Group, 2007-2010 (previously Treasurer and ordinary member).
- Member of the Royal Society’s International Fellowship Panel, 2007–2010
- Member the STFC/Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowships Panel, 2009-2012
- Board Member of the European Optical Society, 2006-2010
- Member of the Institute of Physics’ Group Coordination Committee, 2008-2014
- Steering Committee & Research Board Member of the Faraday Partnership in Smart Optics, 2001– 2005
I have taught a whole range of courses involving optics, astronomy, electronics, image processing and classical mechanics. I have also taught several external courses (including many years contributing to the SIRA Course on Optical Engineering and Imperial College's Short Course on Adaptive Optics).
I have been an external PhD. examiner at Cambridge (x3), Edith Cowan (Australia), Glasgow (x2), Heriot Watt (x2), Imperial (x4), Kent, Nottingham, Oxford (x2), Sheffield, St. Andrews, TU Delft (NL), TU Denmark, UC Dublin, UCL.
My competed PhD. students (as primary supervisor) are
- Nathan Doble
- Thomas Oag
- Tim Butterley
- Chris Saunter
- Jonathan Taylor
- Laura Young
- James Osborn
- Fraser Scobie
- Cyril Bourgenot
- Matthew Cashmore
- Jared Parnell
- Tom Mitchell
- Matthew Townson
- Abilgail Finch
This is the "Durham Radio Telescope" on the roof of physics built up by a series of 4th year students working with me.
- I was originally an undergraduate at Van Mildert College
- I was a College Tutor at St. Cuthbert's Society from 1993 - 1995
- I was a College Mentor at Hatfield College from 2008 - 2013
- I am a visiting fellow at St. Chad's College in 2016/17
Widening the Appeal of Computer Science
As the Head of Computer Science, I have been very lucky to work with some fantastic colleagues to help promote gender-diversity in Computer Science. With the help of colleages at DARO and our generous alumni community we have set up the Anne-Marie Imafidon Women in Tech Scholarship Programme, and with the support of AtomBank and Stemettes we have played a small part in hopefully inspiring the next generation of Tech Leaders. The photo below shows (left to right) Sue Black, Gordon Love, one of our first Scholars - Lucy Woods, Alumnus Neil Hunt - former CPO of Netflix, Anne Marie Imafidon, Lauren Bradshaw and Andy Harston. In Oct 2019 we were extremely please to receive a $3.5M philanthropic donation from Neil to start the Hunt Programme to make a step-change in helping more women and also students from disadvanatged backgrounds to come to Durham to study computer science, and to create a programme to create more links with industry for our students. You can also read a related blog I helped create for the Department of DCMS. Finally - take a listen to "100 Moments that Rocked Computer Science" - a podcast created by Sue Black that I co-presented. Fantastic that this got into the UK top 10 itunes technology charts.
I have a long standing collaboration with Martin Bank's Group at Berkeley, working on 3D displays, acccommodation, and some interesting work on animal eyes describing why different animals have different shaped pupils. See National Geographic, The Conversation, New York Times, The Guardian and others. This paper has an altmetrics score of 1928 (Jul 2022) making it the 5th ranked paper of all time by Durham University.
(Image Jim Champion (sheep); R'lyeh (wolf); Michele Lamberti (fox); William Warby (cuttlefish), CC BY-SA)
Accommodation in the Eye
I have had a long standing interest in Accommodation (how the eye focusses) in vision science. It's widely known that we all have a lens in our eye which can deform which allows us to focus at different distances - but how does the eye know how to focus and whether something is in focus? This is on going research and a topic of debate.
Along with Marty Banks' Group at UC Berkeley we have shown that colour plays an important role in our ability to accommodate and creating correct defocus in a display can affect the sense of realism and drive accommodation (potentially making the display more compfortable to view).
This figure shows a set of simulated PSFs (images of a point) showing how the images change with the viewing distance (x axis) for different types of aberration in the eye and for coloour light.
Liquid Crystal Optics
Much of my early work revolved around using liquid crystal devices in non-display applications including switchable lenses and adaptive optics. My best known paper in this field was an Editor's Pick in 50 Years of Applied Optics.
- Vision Science
- 3D Displays
- Computer Graphics
- Adaptive Optics
- Liquid Crystal Technology
- Image Processing
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Centre for Advanced Instrumentation
- Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology
- Experimental structure and dynamics of biological soft matter
- VIViD: Vision, Imaging and Visualization in Durham
- 2018: Listening to Rivers: Using Sound to Measure Water Velocity(£15780.00 from )
- 2017: How the eye focuses: basic mechanisms and opportunities for advanced displays(£76860.00 from National Science Foundation)
- 2015: MEASURING FOCUS WITH FLICKER AS A DIAGNOSTIC AID FOR OPTOMETRISTS(£27568.46 from Epsrc)
- 2015: Telescopic Windows: low vision scope to cloaks(£418041.28 from Epsrc)
- 2014: Industrial CASE Award: Developing novel non-invasive tools for the diagnosis of menopausal atrophy and at the Point of Care(£22883.00 from Procter & Gamble)
- 2014: Scientific Properties of Complex Knots(£337854.00 from Leverhulme Trust)
- 2013: A programme of astronomical instrumentation and high energy astrophysics at Durham 2013-2015(£961829.80 from STFC)
- 2012: Comfortable stereoscopic displays: A pre-commercial prototype(£19983.00 from Epsrc)
- 2011: Beating hearts at high resolution: adaptive high resoluton selective plane illumination microscopy(£506509.98 from Epsrc)
- 2011: KTA fellow: Quantitive analysis of inflammatory cells within the eye's anterior chamber(£22707.36 from Epsrc)
- 2011: Optical Control of Emulsion Drops for Nanofluids and Microfabrication(£114817.84 from Epsrc)
- 2009: CASE Holographic Optical Testing for ELT's(£12930.00 from STFC)
- 2008: Improvements in 3D visualization for vision resear(£36771.86 from National Institutes of Health)
- 2008: POAE(£93476.68 from Cosine Research BV)
- 2008: SMART BIO-IMAGING(£105231.00 from STFC)
- 2008: The Durham Sky Bowl(£9295.34 from Jacobs Engineering)
- 2007: LOW COST & HIGH SPEED CONTROL SYSTEMS(£88121.45 from Pparc)
- 2006: ALFONSO(£41316.44 from DTI)
- 2006: ELT DESIGN STUDY: WP9400 EXTENSION(£35850.68 from ESO - European Org. for Astronomical Research)
- 2005: PROGRAMMABLE REFERENCES(£11848.75 from Pparc)
- 2004: AN ADAPTABLE IMAGING CAMERA: PART B(£86620.63 from Pparc)
- 2004: OPTICON - ADVANCED ADAPTIVE OPTICS(£209040.00 from European Commission)
- 2004: SPANAS:SYSTEMS FOR PHOTONIC ADJUSTMENT(£368612.00 from Epsrc)
- 2003: ALFONSO(£125324.00 from DTI)
- 2003: AN ADAPTABLE IMAGING CAMERA(£87338.75 from Pparc)
- 2002: IMPROVEMENTS IN 3D VISUALISATION(£170390.00 from National Institutes of Health)
- 2002: MODAL LIQUID CRYSTAL LENSES(£148175.94 from Pparc)
- 2001: POLATISATION INTENSITIVE LIQUID(£1724.00 from Intelligent Pixels, Inc.)
- 2000: ADAPTIVE OPTICS FOR PRECISION LASER POINTING(£20000.00 from Matra BAe Dynamics (UK) Ltd)
- 1999: ADAPTIVE LIQUID CRYSTAL LENSES(£25625.00 from Physical Optics Corporation)
- 1999: CRYSTAL OPTICAL PHASE MODULATORS(£104386.00 from Pparc)
Available for media contact about:
- Visualisation / 3D displays:
- Advanced Instrumentation:
- Vision / eye movement: