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Having completed an undergraduate integrated masters (MPhys) in theoretical physics at Durham University I joined CANES in 2018 and completed the MSc year. I am now undertaking a PhD project concerned with mathematical modelling of desert dunes fields. Despite coming from a completely different background, I have found the topic incredibly interesting particularly as I have always been interested in how similar mathematical models can be used to describe seemingly very different systems.
The problem I am attempting to solve is that individual sand dunes are thought to be unstable to changes in size and yet we observe vast fields of many similarly sized dunes. It has been suggested that the apparent stability of dunes in a field is an emergent property of the interactions and collision between dunes. Dune fields must therefore be treated as many-body systems which will exhibit non-trivial behaviours and non-equilibrium dynamics. I am approaching the problem by treating the dunes as the primary object in contrast to many previous works which have taken the sand grains to be the basic object of modelling.
P31: Analysis and Modelling of Bedform Development as an Aggregation & Fragmentation Process