About me

I'm a research scientist working in the Chemistry and Materials group in the Hartree Centre (part of the STFC) located on the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus near Warrington in the UK. Prior to that I was for many years a staff scientist at Unilever R&D Port Sunlight near Liverpool in the UK.

I trained as a physicist and I still regard myself as such. My research interests include statistical physics and soft matter, and more recently physical biology and systems biology:

  • phase behaviour of complex mixtures: colloids, polymers, and surfactants;

  • hydrodynamics, diffusiophoresis, and other microscale transport processes;

  • simulation methodologies such dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) and lattice Boltzmann (LB);

  • noise and stochasticity in biological systems: sub-cellular processes, microbial ecology (neutral models);

  • systems biology: epidermal homeostasis, metabolic flux balance analysis (FBA).

My PhD was on fractal aggregation with Robin Ball in the Theory of Condensed Matter Group in Cambridge (1990). Following that I held post-doc positions at Unilever with Moti Lal and Ian Robb, and subsequently in the Physics department in the University of Edinburgh with Peter Pusey and Wilson Poon. I then took a permanent position at Unilever (1992). In 2004 I enjoyed a two month sabbatical in Pieter Rein ten Wolde's group at AMOLF where I was also a visiting Professor in the University of Amsterdam; and in 2006 a two week visit to Trey Ideker's lab in UCSD. I've also been seconded to work with two West Coast biotech companies: Entelos (now part of Rosa & Co), and Genomatica. From October 2020 I joined the Hartree Centre as a member of the technical staff, after a transitionary period working for both organisations (Hartree and Unilever).

I maintain close contacts with Edinburgh, particularly the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership which has much in common with the Hartree Centre in terms of approach and links to industry. I currently hold an Honorary Professorship in the School of Physics and Astronomy in Edinburgh, and I am also an Associate Member of the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics.

I was an Editorial Board member for Physical Review E (6-year term ended Dec 2017), and an EPL Co-Editor (5-year term ended May 2011) and Advisory Board member (term ended April 2014). I have also been on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. I was in the 2010 cohort of APS Outstanding Referees. I'm currently on the CECAM Scientific Advisory Committtee (SAC).

The 2012 Ig Nobel physics prize was awarded to Joe Keller, Ray Goldstein, Robin Ball, and me, "for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail". Joe's work was on ponytail dynamics [SIAM J. Appl. Math. 70, 2667-72 (2010)] and our work was on ponytail shapes [Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 078101 (2012)].

More recently I was greatly honored to receive the 2022 Solvay Prize of the European Colloid and Interface Society (ECIS).

I am a member of the American Physical Society (since 1992).

Contact details

Prof Dr Patrick B Warren, PhD,

STFC Hartree Centre, Sci-Tech Daresbury, Warrington, WA4 4AD, UK;

School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Edinburgh, UK.

Hartree landline: + 44 192 560 3091 (probably defunct though)

COVID19 landline: + 44 151 644 1525

For professional and business-related email please use: patrick.warren@stfc.ac.uk

For personal email please use: patrickbwarren@gmail.com

My old Unilever email address (patrick.warren@unilever.com) is no longer supported and I think for obvious and sensible security reasons Unilever doesn't bounce email sent to old accounts in their domain.

Private messages (PMs) sent through LinkedIn or Facebook are likely to go unread for months; I've enough trouble keeping on top of regular email !!