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Durham University

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Willmore Postdoctoral Fellowships

Willmore Fellowships are 3-year fixed term positions for candidates who are in the early stages of their research career and have between 3 to 8 years of research experience since their PhD by the closing date of the call.
When assessing eligibility, we will consider time spent outside the research environment. Additionally, where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner or adopter), or extended sick leave, we will allow an additional six months for each period of leave.
We invite all qualified candidates to apply. We particularly welcome applications from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in the University. We also encourage applications from researchers who are interested in taking the position part-time.

A Durham Willmore Fellowship provides the opportunity to build an independent research career. Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships.
We plan to host three Willmore Fellows at any time from October 2019. In general, there will be no restriction on the area of research, as long as it is broadly in line with the research interests of the Department. Occasionally, for strategic reasons, the area of recruitment will be specified, as is the case for the first Willmore Postdoctoral Fellowship, advertised with a starting date of October 2017 in the area of applied mathematics (outside theoretical particle physics and general relativity).

About Tom Willmore

Thomas James Willmore was a renowned English geometer who held the post of professor of pure mathematics at Durham University from 1965 to his retirement in 1984.

His mathematical career began with a first degree at Kings College London. After the outbreak of World War Two, he became a scientific officer with the RAF and worked on solving problems with the deployment of barrage balloons. He also completed a PhD in relativistic cosmology during this time, which he was awarded in 1943.

His many mathematical contributions include much work on harmonic spaces. He also suggested the famous Willmore conjecture which states that the least total average curvature (or Willmore energy) of a surface of genus 1 should be two times pi squared. A proof of the conjecture was claimed in 2002, but has not been universally accepted as complete. A proof using different methods has very recently been submitted to the ArXiV. The author's presentation of his proof was filmed at the Willmore Day 2012, and can be viewed here.

He was appointed professor of pure mathematics at Durham in 1965, being the first person without an Oxbridge background to hold this post. He was also the vice-president of the London Mathematical Society from 1977 to 1979 and set up the prestigious LMS research symposia at Durham University which continue to this day.

Willmore Fellows

Our first Willmore Fellow is Dr Shane Cooper, who works on modern applications of Mathematics. He will start his Fellowship in April 2018.