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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory


Nikos Nikiforakis studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Manchester.  He received an MSc on Aerospace Propulsion and a PhD on the 'Evolution of Detonation Waves', (supervised by Professor J.F. Clarke FRS and Professor E.F. Toro OBE) from Cranfield Institute of Technology.

He was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, where he worked on building computational models for the simulation of global atmospheric flows (stratospheric ozone depletion over Northern Latitudes), with Professor J.A. Pyle FRS. From 1996 he was at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, where he founded the Laboratory of Computational Dynamics (LCD).

Since 2008 he has been at the Cavendish Laboratory, where he is the Head of the Laboratory for Scientific Computing, the Director for Academic Programmes of the Centre for Scientific Computing, the Course Director of the MPhil in Scientific Computing and the Deputy Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Methods for Materials Science.

Nikos is the Director of The Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science Technology and Innovation and a Fellow, College Teaching Officer and Director of Studies in Mathematics at Selwyn College, Cambridge.


Nikos's research interests are on the development and application of numerical algorithms and High Performance Computing methods for the simultaneous solution of the complex systems of nonlinear partial differential equations for the direct numerical simulation of four states of matter (Computational Multiphysics).

Using these advanced numerical tools has enabled internationally leading research on topics of fundamental and applied physics, addressing multi-physics and multi-scale problems which were previously considered to be intractable.

This pure scientific knowledge has been successfully transferred into operational software for the benefit of industry and the economy, thus engaging several industrial partners from the UK and abroad.

Nikos has research collaborations with several industrial partners and government laboratories.


Key publications: 

Key publications:

For more entries with links, please see

A multi-physics methodology for four-states of matter. Communications on Applied Mathematics and Computation, Michael, L., Millmore, S.T. and Nikiforakis N. (2019).

Highly parallelisable simulations of time-dependent viscoplastic fluid flow simulations with structured adaptive mesh refinement. Sverdrup,K., Nikiforakis, N. and Almgren, A. (2018). Physics of Fluids 30, 093102

A multi-physics methodology for the simulation of the two-way interaction of reactive flow and elastoplastic structural response. Michael L. and Nikiforakis  N. (2018), Journal of Computational Physics, Volume 367.

A dimensionally split Cartesian cut cell method for hyperbolic conservation laws. Gokhale N., Nikiforakis N. and Klein R. (2018). Journal of Computational Physics Volume 364.

General Relativistic Hydrodynamics on Overlapping Curvilinear Grids. Blakely P.,  Nikiforakis N., and Henshaw W.D. (2014). Astronomy & Astrophysics V575, A103.

A hybrid formulation for the numerical simulation of condensed phase explosives. Michael, L. and Nikiforakis, N. (2016). Journal of Computational Physics, v316, pp 193-217.  

Discretization of semiconductor device problems. II, Anile A.M., Nikiforakis N., Romano V., Russo G. (2005). Handbook of numerical analysis. Vol. XIII, 443--522, North-Holland, Amsterdam.

Developing the next-generation climate system models: challenges and achievements, Julia Slingo, Kevin Bates, Nikos Nikiforakis, Matthew Piggott, Malcolm Roberts, Len Shaffrey, Ian Stevens, Pier Luigi Vidale and Hilary Weller. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 13 March 2009 vol. 367 no. 1890 815-831.

A Three-Dimensional, Adaptive, Godunov-Type Model for Global Atmospheric Flows, M. E. Hubbard and N. Nikiforakis, Monthly Weather Review 2003; 131: 1848-1864

Professor of Computational Multiphysics
Fellow, College Teaching Officer and Director of Studies in Mathematics, Selwyn College
Professor Nikos  Nikiforakis

Contact Details

Email address: 
Room 3.106, Maxwell Centre,
Cavendish Laboratory,
JJ Thomson Avenue,
+44 (0)1223 339841


Person keywords: 
Theoretical and Computational Physics
Computational multiphysics