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Professor William Phillips

Professor of Applied Mathematics
PhD, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom


Professor Phillips joined the Department of Mathematics at Swinburne in April 2007 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he spent much of his career in the (then) Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. Prior to that he held appointments at Cornell, Clarkson and the National University of Singapore. His main interests are nonlinear instability,  bifurcation analysis and asymptotic theory, and using them to explain geophysical fluid dynamical phenomena, most specifically through surface-wave mean-flow instabilities. He is best known for his generalised theory for the aetiology of sub-meso scale (stadium sized) rolls in the ocean known as Langmuir circulation that form in and help to mix the upper ocean. He has secured  over US$3.8 m in research grants from the NSF and NIH and AU$1.4 m from the ARC.  He holds degrees from McGill University in Canada and the University of Cambridge in England

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Langmuir circulation in resonace: The aim of this project is to investigate the nonlinear dynamics of Langmuir circulation in resonance.  This will be done by investigating the nonlinear instability of coupled Stuart-Landau type equations derived from a mean field set of equations that describe Langmuir circulation.  Bifurcation theory and dynamical systems theory will be employed.

Fields of Research

  • Applied Mathematics Not Elsewhere Classified - 010299
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics - 040403


Also published as: Phillips, William; Phillips, W.; Phillips, W. R. C.; Phillips, W.R.C.; Phillips, William R. C.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2014: Victorian Government International Research Scholarship Grant 2014 - 2017 (Mr Lidong Cui) *; Dept State Development Business & Innovation Post Grad Scholarship
  • 2011: Experimental facility for extreme air/sea interaction studies *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme

* Chief Investigator

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