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Dr Robert Downes

CSSS Fellow, MacArthur Foundation Grant                  


Centre for Science and Security Studies

King's College London




Tel. 0207 848 7515





Rob Downes is a Research Associate in Nuclear Security working at the Centre for Science and Security Studies.

Trained as a mathematician, he received his PhD in mathematics from UCL in 2014, where he studied the interplay between geometry and spectral theory with applications to physical systems and gravitation. He also holds an MSci in Mathematics with Theoretical Physics (1st Class), awarded by UCL.

Formerly, as a Research Associate at The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis on the ENFOLDing project, Rob studied the structure and dynamics of global socio-economic systems using ideas from complexity science.

In addition to academic positions, he has worked at both the Government Office for Science and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and as an advisor to a member of the House of Lords.

Research Interests
  • Nuclear security
  • CBRN terrorism
  • Complex systems and mathematical modelling

In preparation:

  • R.J. Downes and R.G Levy, Rebalancing the national economy via feasible consumption patterns, in preparation. 

Journal articles:

  • C.G. Böhmer, R.J. Downes, and D.G. Vassiliev, Rotational elasticity, Quarterly Journal of Mathematics and Applied Mechanics, 64(4): 415–439, 2011. 
  • O. Chervova, R.J. Downes, and D.G. Vassiliev, The spectral function of a first order system, Journal of Spectral Theory, 3(3): 317–360, 2013. 
  • R.J. Downes, M. Levitin, and D.G. Vassiliev, Spectral asymmetry of the massless Dirac operator on a 3-torus, Journal of Mathematical Physics, 54, 111503, 2013.
  • O. Chervova, R.J. Downes, and D.G. Vassiliev, Spectral theoretic characterization of the massless Dirac operator, Journal of the London Mathematical Society, 89(1): 301-320, 2014. 
  • C.G. Böhmer and R.J. Downes, From continuum mechanics to general relativity, International Journal of Modern Physics D, 23(12), 2014; honourable mention, 2014 Gravity Research Foundation Essay Competition. 
  • R.J. Downes and D.G. Vassiliev, Spectral theoretic characterization of the massless Dirac action, submitted for publication.


  • R.J. Downes, An introduction to Teleparallel gravity, MSci. thesis, UCL, 2010.
  • R.J. Downes, Cosserat elasticity, spectral theory of first order systems, and the massless Dirac operator, Ph.D thesis, UCL, 2014. 
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