Nicholas Watkins

Visiting Professor

     My background is in physics. I graduated from UCL, followed by a PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics from Sussex University.   This was followed by postdoctoral experience in space plasma data analysis and instrument modelling at the Universities of Sussex and Warwick; and then a scientific civil service position with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge. 

Here I led a team that developed and applied complexity science across BAS's remit, from heavy tails in the Earth's fluctuating aurora to long range dependence in temperature, and complex networks in biology. The common threads through this very diverse range of topics have been fluctuations in complex systems and time series analysis

 My work confronts complexity science with real world problems and is centred on modelling uncertainty and risk in time series. A particular focus is models for processes that exhibit both heavy-tailed jumps and long ranged temporal memory, thus creating correlated extreme events (“bunched black swans”). My work, presentations and the conferences that I organise all aim to catalyse the two way dialogue between new ideas and paradigms drawn from complexity science, and the existing discipline-specific knowledge of more traditional disciplines and end users.

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