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Laboratory for Scientific Computing



Nikos Nikiforakis studied Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Manchester. He received an MSc on Aerospace Propulsion and a PhD on computational combustion from Cranfield Institute of Technology. He joined the University of Cambridge in 1993 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Chemistry, where he worked on building computational models for the simulation of global atmospheric flows (stratospheric ozone depletion over Northern Latitudes). From 1996 he transferred to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, where he founded the Laboratory of Computational Dynamics (LCD).

Since 2008 he has been at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics), where he is the Head of the Laboratory for Scientific Computing, the Director for Academic Programmes of the Centre for Scientific Computing, the Course Director of the MPhil in Scientific Computing and the Deputy Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Methods for Materials Science.

Nikos is the Director of The Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science Technology and Innovation and a Fellow, College Teaching Officer and Director of Studies in Mathematics at Selwyn College, Cambridge.


Nikos is pursuing research at fundamental level applied mathematics and physics, and transferring it to topical problems of critical importance to industry and the society, such as clean energy, national defence and aerospace safety.

His research focuses on the development and application of numerical algorithms and high performance computing methods for the simultaneous solution of systems of nonlinear partial differential equations for the direct numerical simulation and interaction of four states of matter (Computational Multiphysics) at extreme conditions.

Nikos has been involved with strategic university research partnerships with Jaguar Land Rover (EPSRC/JLR Programme for Simulation Innovation), Boeing and AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment). He has collaborations with several industrial partners including Tokamak Energy ltd, Schlumberger and Quaise Energy Inc.


Key publications: 

For more entries with links, please see

Zhang, A.Z., Millmore, S.T. and Nikiforakis, N. (2023). "Thermal simulation of millimetre wave ablation of geological materials", Computers and Geotechnics, Volume 161,105571

Heather A Muir and Nikolaos Nikiforakis (2022), "Numerical modelling of imposed magnetohydrodynamic effects in hypersonic flows", Physics of Fluids 34, 107114 (2022);

Cover of Journal of Applied Physics, volume 131 featuring the paper by Wallis et al 2022:

Wallis, T., Barton, P.T. and Nikiforakis, N. (2022). "A unified diffuse interface method for the interaction of rigid bodies with elastoplastic solids and multi-phase mixtures", Journal of Applied Physics 131, 104901 (2022)

M. Apsley, S. T. Millmore, and N. Nikiforakis (2022), Equation of state-driven radiative models for simulation of lightning strikes, Physics of Fluids 34, 016103 (2022) Featured article

Simulating lightning strikes to improve aircraft safety, Article in AIP Scilight,

Cover of Volume 129, Issue 2, 14 January 2021 featuring the paper by Ioannou et al:

Ioannou, E. and Nikiforakis, N. (2021). Multiphysics modeling of the initiating capability of detonators Part II: Booster initiation. Journal of Applied Physics 129, 025903 (2021);

Millmore, S.T. and Nikiforakis N. (2020). Multi-physics simulations of lightning strike on elastoplastic substrates. Journal of Computational Physics, 405, 109142 (2020)

Michael, L., Millmore, S.T. and Nikiforakis N. (2020). A multi-physics methodology for four-states of matter. Communications on Applied Mathematics and Computation, 2pages 487–514 (2020)

Cover of Physics of Fluids Volume 31, Issue 9, September 2019 featuring the paper by Sverdrup et al:

Sverdrup, K., Almgren, A. and Nikiforakis N. (2019). An embedded boundary approach for efficient simulations of viscoplastic fluids in three dimensions. Physics of Fluids 31, 093102;

Cover of Journal of Applied Physics Volume 125, Issue 24, 28 June 2019 featuring the paper by Mi et al:

Mi,X.C., Michael,L., Ioannou,E., Nikiforakis,N., Higgins,A.J. and Ng,H.D. (2019). Meso-resolved simulations of shock-to-detonation transition in nitromethane with air-filled cavities. Journal of Applied Physics 125 (24), 245901

Slingo, J., Bates, K., Nikiforakis, N., Piggott, M., Roberts, M., Shaffrey, L., Weller, H. (2009). Developing the next-generation climate system models: challenges and achievements. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 367, 815-831. https://doi:10.1098/rsta.2008.0207

Hubbard, M.E., & Nikiforakis, N. (2003). A three-dimensional, adaptive, Godunov-type model for global atmospheric flows. Mon Weather Rev, 131(8), 1848-1864.


Other publications: 

For more entries with links, please see

Yamashita, R.,  Wutschitz, R. and Nikiforakis N. (2020). A full-field simulation methodology for sonic boom modeling with Cartesian cut-cell and adaptively-refined meshes. Journal of Computational Physics, 408, 109271 (2020)

Gokhale, N. Nikiforakis, N. and Klein, R. (2018). A dimensionally split Cartesian cut cell method for the compressible Navier-Stokes equations. Journal of Computational Physics, vol. 375, pp. 1205-1219,

Anile, A. M., Nikiforakis, N., Romano, V., & Russo, G. (2005). Discretization of semiconductor device problems (II). Chapter 5 of Handbook of Numerical Analysis Vol. XIII: special volume Numerical Methods in Electromagnetics. Elsevier, North-Holland. https://doi:10.1016/S1570-8659(04)13005-6  pp443-522

Nikiforakis, N. (2005). AMR for global atmospheric modelling. Lecture Notes in Computational Science and Engineering: Adaptive mesh Refinement-Theory and applications Vol. 41 (pp. 505-526). doi:10.1007/3-540-27039-6_38

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Nikos has supervised 45+ PhD students and 20+ post doctoral research associates on topics related to numerical methods, combustion and computational multiphysics.

In 2010 Nikos established the Master’s (MPhil) in Scientific Computing, a course which is nationally and internationally recognised for its high-quality training and its comprehensive curriculum on advanced algorithms for computational physics and high performance computing.

Recently he has led a School of Physical Sciences strategic postgraduate teaching initiative to expand this MPhil and maintain the university’s position on world-class postgraduate education on this field. Apart from securing its long-term self-sustainability of the course and its significant educational and societal impact, this expansion generated eight new posts (three new tenured Associate/Assistant Professorships, two Senior Teaching Associate and three support posts) for the Department of Physics.

Head of the Laboratory for Scientific Computing

Contact Details

+44 (0)1223 339841
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy