Research Group: Statistical Physics

Research Group: Statistical Physics

About the Group

Led by Professor Ralph Kenna, the Statistical Physics group was originally established in 2006. The group has an international reputation in classical and quantum statistical physics including liquid crystals and polymers. Alongside these cohesive interests, the group has renown as pioneers in interdisciplinary research of complex systems and collaborates worldwide in biophysics, computational physics, cosmology, informatics, sociophysics, transport and narrative networks.

Meet the Team

Ralph Kenna

Ralph Kenna (Group Leader)

Complex systems, scaling, thermodynamics, physical sciences, sociological and humanities.

Matthew England

Matthew England

Computer algebra, symbolic computation, quantifier elimination, cylindrical algebraic decomposition, polynomial systems, computational geometry
Christian von Ferber

Christian von Ferber

Statistical physics, field theory, graph theory and computer simulations

Charis Rice

Damien Foster

Phase diagrams and polymers

Nikolaos Fytas

Statistical physics, nanotechnology, polymers and condensed matter physics

Robert Low

Liquid crystals, mathematics and natural philosophy, relativity and geometry in physics

Thierry Platini

Bio-physics, network theory, non equilibrium open quantum systems

Martin Weigel

Theoretical physics, complex magnetic materials

Taras Yavorskyi

GPU computing, transport networks, highly frustrated magnetism

Eun-jin Kim

Statistical physics, non-equilibrium processes, self-organisation, information theory, fluid dynamics, magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), plasma physics, turbulence, transport, solar/stellar dynamics, magnetically confined nuclear fusion, homeostasis in biosystems, cardiac dynamics

Charo del Genio

Dorian Florescu

Petro Sarkanych

Argyro Mainou

Joseph Yose

Honourary researcher, Tata UK

Tim Ellis

Honourary researcher,  Severn Trent Water UK

Yurij Holovatch

Honourary researcher,  National Acad. Sci. of Ukraine, Lviv, Ukraine

Padraig MacCarron

Honourary researcher,  The National University of Ireland, Maynooth


Feature Project: Maths meets myths

In recent years statistical physicists have increased their interests in other disciplines motivated by how properties of complex systems emerge nontrivially from interactions between component parts. In physics, molecules interact so that ice melts and water flows. So too in humanities characters in narratives interact to produce a story. In physics and humanities emergent phenomena can be more complex than simple aggregates of individual molecules or characters in them.

Inspired by the enveloping concept of universality, the group pioneered statistical-physics investigations into complex networks embedded in narrative texts. Such narrative networks are formed out of characters interacting in the texts. The team apply statistical mechanical tools to analyse iconic mythological and medieval narratives with a view to identifying common and distinguishing quantitative features of their networks and to investigate long-standing issues in humanities. 

For example, most recently, they investigated a medieval text about the Viking age in Ireland. That research found that conflicts leading to the famous Battle of Clontarf (1014) were mainly between the Irish and Vikings, rather than a civil war as revisionist historians argued. The impact of this research reached millions of people via media including TV and radio.

Doctoral Opportunities

FCS PhD Opportunities

If you think you have what it takes to study for a PhD with us then take a look at the current PhD opportunities that are available within the Centre. We also welcome applications from suitably qualified self-funded or sponsored PhD candidates if they are in areas directly relevant to our research themes. The next step, once you have identified the research area of interest, is to contact the relevant academic and have an informal discussion with them. The academic can then advise you whether to proceed with a formal application.

Newton Institutional Links
FCS Engineering Doctorate Opportunities

Our Engineering Doctorate in Flow Measurement and Fluid Mechanics is a PhD-level qualification aimed at individuals who have a career, or wish to pursue a career, as an active researcher in industry. Typically, the Engineering Doctorate qualification is undertaken part-time, whilst working in industry. For employers it provides an opportunity to raise the level of skills of their research staff, allowing them to support the on-going developing of their own experts, who can influence and inspire those working around them. For individuals it provides the relevant technical, business and personal development required to become one of the senior technical managers of the future. For more information on our Engineering Doctorate Programme take a look at the course specification or contact us on

View current PhD opportunities
Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
QS Five Star Rating 2020 and University of the year shortlisted
Coventry City of Culture 2021