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Personal profile

Personal Statement

My research interests include the mathematical modelling of liquid crystals and other non-Newtonian fluids. My main focus at present is the application of static and dynamic continuum theories to models for nematic and cholesteric liquid crystals. Other areas of research include fluid flows in porous media and studies into the design of prosthetic sockets. Generally, I have a keen interest in all aspects of mathematical modelling of real world problems.

Research Interests

Areas of focus in the field of liquid crystals include:

  • Dynamic modelling of nematic flows
  • Unwinding cholesterics
  • Freely suspended smectic films
  • Weak anchoring effects
  • Bidirectional surface ordering
  • Mechanical actions of nanocyclinders on nematic liquid crystals
  • Smectic chevron structures
  • Orientation of liquid crystals subject to external fields

Teaching Interests

Since becoming a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics (now Mathematics and Statistics) in 1994, and then a Senior Lecturer in 2004, I have been responsible for a large number of classes covering a wide variety of topics and at various different levels. As always, the challenge remains to engage students, highlighting the relevance of mathematics in everyday life and a variety of careers, while also trying to convey techniques that are vital to the knowledge development of any mathematics or engineering student.  Currently the classes in which I am involved cover material from Foundation Mathematics to Complex Analysis.

Within my department I have the role of year 3 coordinator, with responsibility for all aspects of the third year of our many degree courses. I have also been the academic supervisor for a significant number of final year undergraduate projects for students in the final year of our Honours degree courses. These projects have focused on topics as varied as The Mechanics of Sport, RSA Codes, Flows in Porous Media, Modelling Liquid Crystals, Phase Transitions, Chaotic Motion and Site Percolation.


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, University of Glasgow

Bachelor of Science, University of Glasgow

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Projects 2015 2022

Research Output 2001 2018

15 Downloads (Pure)

Minimality conditions for wave speed in anisotropic smectic C* liquid crystals

Crooks, E. C. M., Grinfeld, M. & McKay, G., 21 Dec 2018, In : Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences . 41, 1, p. 88-102 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Wave Speed
Liquid Crystal
Liquid crystals
2 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)

Nematic liquid crystal director structures in rectangular regions

Walton, J., Mottram, N. J. & McKay, G., 16 Feb 2018, In : Physical Review E. 97, 2, 12 p., 022702.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Crystal Structure
Nematic Liquid Crystal
liquid crystals
Point Defects


Flow-induced delayed Freedericksz transition

Mottram, N. (Creator), McKay, G. (Creator), Brown, C. (Creator), Russell, C. (Creator), Sage, I. (Creator), University of Strathclyde, 15 Feb 2016