Dr Ashley P Willis

Senior Lecturer of Applied Mathematics

Dr Ashley P Willis


I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield.  My research involves pattern formation in fluid flows (transition to turbulence, nonlinear dynamics, stability, chaos) and magnetohydrodynamics (flows in planetary interiors, accretion discs, magnetic field generation).

Email: a.p.willis@sheffield.ac.uk | Telephone: +44 114 222 3746

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I am a member of the departmental SoMaS Fluid Dynamics Group and the cross-faculty Sheffield Fluid Mechanics Group (SFMG)


Before moving to Sheffield, I held a Marie Curie Fellowship at Laboratoire d'Hydrodynamique (LadHyX), Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France, 2008-10, with Carlo Cossu.  We considered the influence of large-scale motion on friction drag in pipe flow, and worked on the 'Method of Slices' for symmetry reduction (elimination of arbitrary axial shifts) with Predrag Cvitanović.

Prior to that, I held a Postdoctoral research position at Bristol 2005-8, with Rich Kerswell FRS.  I participated in the early work on travelling wave solutions in pipe flows, investigating their dynamical importance with respect to the transition to turbulence.  I developed much of the open-source code 'openpipeflow.org' during this time.

From 2002-5, I was a Postdoctoral researcher with David Gubbins FRS at Leeds.  I developed 'LSD', the Leeds Spherical Dynamo code, and investigated the influence of lateral variations of temperature at the base of Earth's mantle on the flow in the liquid iron outer core.  In our simulations, we reproduced high-latitude patches of strong magnetic flux, located close to those observed in Earth's magnetic field.

I completed my PhD, supervised by Carlo Barenghi at Newcastle University in 2002, on the Hydrodynamic stability of Taylor-Couette flow, in the context of the magneto-rotational instability (MRI).

Students and Postdocs