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Research interests

In my research I use mathematics to understand the real-world. My work spans from the deep scientific and mathematical study of the natural world to the development of models for analysis and decision making in industry. Currently my interests lie in biology and aerospace engineering.

​Within biology my research relates to the modelling of the mechanosensory systems of arthropods (bees, spiders, beetle larvae etc) to understand the sense of aerial electroreception. Together with biologists, physicists and mathematicians, I investigate the mechanical response of sensory hairs to electrical stimuli in order to understand the biological implications of this sense. Importantly the electroreceptive capability of the hairs lies in a wider multi-modal sensory context in which hairs may mechanically respond to other stimuli such as to sound and air flow.

Within fluid dynamics my research has consisted the analytical and numerical study of coupled fluid-body motion in a range of physical settings, whilst for industry my work has focussed on developing methods for modelling the physics of droplets and ice crystals, as well as for decision making in healthcare systems. Together these include: the modelling of the skimming mechanics of arbitrarily shaped bodies (Palmer and Smith, 2020 (JEM)); the use asymptotic and numerical analysis to investigate the coupled fluid-body motion of bodies in boundary layer flow (Palmer and Smith, 2019; Smith and Palmer, 2019; Palmer and Smith, 2020 (JFM)); the modelling of non-spherical particles in aircraft icing (Palmer et al., 2019 (SAE)) and investigations into how mathematical modelling and data visualisation can help inform the organisation and operation of healthcare services (Palmer, Fulop, Utley, 2018; Palmer et al., 2019 (HIJ); Palmer and Utley, 2019).


  • fluid dynamics
  • industrial modelling
  • mathematical biology
  • numerical methods
  • asymptotic methods


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