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Oxford researcher recognised for his ground-breaking work on extreme waves

Dr Mark McAllister, a postdoctoral research assistant in the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science, has been named as the recipient of the ERCOFTAC Osborne Reynolds Day PhD Oral Presentation Competition.

Group of male academics. An award is presented to one of them

Based in the Department’s Environmental Fluid Mechanics Research Group, Mark’s research revolves around expanding our understanding of extreme waves in the ocean.

His PhD, published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, was entitled ‘Analysis of Field and Laboratory Measurements of Directionally Spread Nonlinear Ocean Waves’. It focused on the way multiple smaller waves combine to become extreme waves, and how their directions relative to one another affect the size of the larger, combined wave.

Mark’s prize was presented at the 16th ERCOFTAC Osborne Reynolds Day, an event held by the European Research Community On Flow, Turbulence and Combustion. The event is named in memory of Osborne Reynolds (1842-1912), a celebrated Irish innovator in the field of fluid dynamics, and features presentations by some of the brightest of the UK’s newly-graduated and soon-to-graduate PhDs in fluid mechanics.

These awards celebrate the quality of students and graduates who have been pursuing doctoral-level research across the broad domain of fluid mechanics including turbulence, multi-phase, stratified and free-surface flows, convective transport processes, combustion and acoustics. Mark’s PhD beat entries from around the UK to take the top prize.

After submitting his PhD, Mark joined the Department’s research team headed by Professor Ton van den Bremer, where he is investigating how accurately measurement buoys in the ocean are able to measure extreme waves.

Mark says: “I was a bit surprised to win, as the level of competition was very high, but I’m very proud and pleased to see that people were excited by my work.”