UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy

Prof Ian Ford

Prof Ian Ford

Professor of Physics

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 1996

Research summary

My research interests lie in the area of statistical physics, particularly soft condensed matter and biological physics. I am particularly interested in a theoretical understanding of the nucleation of a phase transition, such as condensation of aerosols or freezing of liquids, and in nonequilibrium entropy-producing processes in general, particularly through the framework of stochastic thermodynamics and fluctuation relations. I have also worked in areas as diverse as quark physics, laser-atom interactions, friction and wear, atmospheric physics and environmental pollution, deformation and fracture of materials, and problems in nuclear reactor design.

  • Soft condensed matter
  • Nucleation phenomena
  • Aerosol science
  • Biomolecular mechanics
  • Entropy production and stochastic thermodynamics
  • Small system kinetic processes
  • Fluctuation relations

Teaching summary

Statistical mechanics

Stochastic mathematics



University of Oxford
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1987
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1984


I graduated from Cambridge University in 1984 with a BA in Physics and Theoretical Physics, and went on to complete a DPhil in 1987 at Oxford University on the theory of elementary particles. I then moved to the Theoretical Physics Division at the Harwell Laboratory of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. In 1993-5 I was attached to the Department of Materials at Oxford University as a part-time Royal Society Industrial Fellow. I left Harwell at the end of 1995 to join the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics group of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL. I became a Reader in Physics in 2003 and a Professor in 2007.