An eminent mathematician known for his extensive work on theoretical aspects of applied mathematics has accepted a teaching and research post at Heriot-Watt University.
Professor Sir John Ball FRSE FRS is re-joining the Department of Mathematics on a part-time basis. As part of his role, the celebrated mathematician will deliver a course in Nonlinear Analysis to Maxwell Institute Graduate Students, starting in April this year.
John's presence will not only strengthen activities in analysis, but also provide a new pole of attraction for visitors to the School and the Maxwell Institute.
The appointment is a coup for the university and represents something of a homecoming for Professor Ball who in 1972 started his academic career in the Department of Mathematics at Heriot-Watt University and progressed to full professor. He left in 1995 to become the Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Univeristy of Oxford. While at Heriot-Watt he published his seminal work on existence theory in non-linear elasticity which has had a profound and enduring impact on the field and helped establish the global reputation of the Mathematics Department.
Professor Beatrice Pelloni, Head of School, welcomed Professor Ball's return and said: "John's presence will not only strengthen activities in analysis, but also provide a new pole of attraction for visitors to the School and the Maxwell Institute. I am looking forward with excitement to welcoming John back to Heriot-Watt!"
Professor Ball is an active member of the international mathematical community and former President of the International Mathematical Union. He is also a recipient of many prizes and honours as well as a tremendous advocate for the discipline.
Professor Ball's main research areas lie in the calculus of variations, nonlinear partial differential equations, infinite-dimensional dynamical systems and their applications to nonlinear mechanics.
He has a specific interest in solid mechanics and in particular the mathematics of microstructure arising from phase transformations in solids. Recently, he has developed significant new ideas for the mathematical theory of liquid crystals.