Research Profile

Prof Nick

Vice Chancellor

  • Professor Nick Petford is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton. Previously Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Bournemouth University and before that Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Kingston University, Nick has worked in industry (BP) and on academic and commercial research projects throughout the world, most recently as a consultant to DFID (UK) and CONICYT, the National Research Council for Chile. Nick is a former Royal Society University Research Fellow and Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He has held visiting research appointments at the Universities of Michigan and Vermont (USA) and NASA and is currently visiting professor at Macquarie University (Australia) and The Open University.

    Nick is known internationally for his expertise in magmatic systems and volcanology and is a highly cited author with over 250 journal papers, abstracts, book reviews and other articles to his name (some from a brief stint as a journalist at the Times Higher). His research work embraces field investigations and mathematical modeling of the flow of molten rock on earth and other planets, and the mechanical stability of volcanoes. He is currently working with colleagues at NASA on the physics of ice magma. Most recently he has begun research work on the fluid dynamics of blood flow. 

    He has worked on a diverse range of collaborative projects aimed at bridging the so-called art-science gap, and has taught on Kingston University’s Curating Contemporary Design MA with colleagues from the Design Museum and Welcome Trust.

    Nick has also contributed to the debate on energy usage and climate change and is currently working on a British Council-funded social enterprise project in the Niger Delta in an effort to reduce child mortality from malaria and on developing new methods for imaging radon tracks for environmental health monitoring.

    Nick has contributed extensively to the media in relation to both volcanology and Higher Education matters.  In 2005 the BBC featured the work of his research team in the documentary ‘Krakatoa Revealed’.  During the 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano he fronted the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Volcano that Stopped Britain’.  He has worked with Pioneer Productions on the documentaries ‘The Birth of Britain’ and ‘the Birth of Europe’ and in 2013 travelled to Indonesia to film for the National Geographic series ‘Top Ten Natural Disasters’.  He has appeared on Sky News and on BBC TV and radio.  Nick also writes a regular blog for the Guardian Higher Education Network. 

    Nick has served on numerous professional bodies at Board and leadership level. He is currently a member of the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership Board, the Northamptonshire Health and Wellbeing Board, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership Board, Universities and Colleges Employers Association Board, the Universities UK Board and is Chair of Procurement UK. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society, the RSA, the American Geophysical Union and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is a Director of Floodstop, a University spin-out company that manufactures and sells flood defence barriers.

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    This list was generated from NECTAR on Mon May 20 13:33:07 2019 BST.