Biography

My interests lie in mathematical modelling of physical and industrial processes generally using asymptotic and numerical techniques. The emphasis is placed on trying to understand the process rather than applying mathematics for its own sake.

I have research links with the mechanics group (Dr. J. Lammers, Dr. P.Slikkerveer) at Philips Research Laboratories http://www.research.philips.com. where I worked from 1986-1993. The collaboration has continued both directly and via postgraduate students and we have jointly developed mathematical models for coating processes of interest to Philips in particular concentrating on the coating of television screens and CRTs. Philips Research provides great expertise both on the theoretical and experimental side and its uniformly high research standards have influenced me greatly.

Indeed my approach to mathematical modelling owes a lot to the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics where I obtained a D.Phil. under the supervision of Alan Tayler.

Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (MACSI)

MACSI was set up as a Science Foundation Ireland (Mathematics Initiative) funded project (of which I was the Principal Investigator) to establish a network of industrial applied mathematicians in Ireland, with the group at the University of Limerick at the hub. The grant awarded was the largest ever to mathematics in Ireland (Eur 5m) under SFI's mathematics initiative. The grant extended from 2006-2013. The MACSI group solves problems posed by collaborators from science, engineering and industry. In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 we held study groups with industry (problem solving for industry workshops). There will another at UL from June 28-July 3 2015. In January 2013, I was lead applicant of a team grant of Eur 2.1m (+600k in overheads) awarded under the SFI Investigator Programme. This will be used to fund a range of activities in applied and industrial mathematical modelling.

European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry (ECMI)

The European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry (ECMI) is a consortium of academic institutions and industrial companies that acts co-operatively to promote and support the use of mathematical models in any activity of social or economic importance, to educate Industrial Mathematicians to meet the growing demand for such experts, to operate on a European scale. I was vice president from 2012-2013 and am currently serving as president (2014-1015). Dietmar Hoemberg is the current vice president and will become president in 2016. The ECMI BLOG is at
http://www.ecmiindmath.org

Applied mathematical modelling (MACSI)

The terms "industrial mathematics", "applied mathematics" and "mathematical modelling" are often used as near synonyms to make the distinction with pure mathematics whose central tenet is formal proof and which is not generally concerned with real problems arising outside of mathematics. An applied mathematician is a kind of lapsed pure mathematician in the sense that he/she would like to prove every result formally but is sometimes unable to do so and must make intuitive leaps in the search for understanding. Otherwise, for example, the flow of air over airplane wings would not be understood. In fact applied mathematical modelling does not specify a novel kind of mathematics, but rather a philosophy of asking how things work. Emphasis is placed on the application of mathematics in non-mathematical disciplines, e.g., in finance, economics, biology, physics, chemistry or industry (which can be considered a complex world in itself often embracing all of the above disciplines). A process or phenomenon occurs outside mathematics and mathematics is used to explain, to understand or to improve it. The emphasis then is not on the mathematics itself, but on the use of mathematics to understand a phenomenon in a non-mathematical world. Mathematical modellers perceive themselves as being scientists as well as mathematicians and are interested in other disciplines apart from mathematics. Without this philosophy, most modern technology would not exist: airplanes would not fly, man would not have reached the moon, there would be no radar imaging nor scientific weather forecasts. Modern mathematical models help to quantitatively explain how ultrasound works, how diseases spread, how bubbles move in a pint of stout, how quickly spilt fuel on an airport runway percolates through the underlying soil, how wet paint drips from a ceiling, how the prices of options change. There are even mathematical models for the dynamics of marriage!

Research Interests

My research interests include modelling of industrial problems, asymptotic methods, lubrication theory, free surface flows, Stokes flow, and porous flow.

Interested in postgraduate studies?
My direct line is 00 353 61 202644, my email is stephen dot obrien at ul dot ie. The basic entry requirement for postgraduate study is to be well motivated and to have a good degree in a numerate discipline, mathematics, physics or engineering with a strong mathematical content. I tend to work on modelling real world physical problems (see example below) so a background in physics or engineering is not a disadvantage.

Typical Postgraduate Projects
Michael Hayes (2001), Asymptotic and numerical modelling of thin film flows, PhD.
Michael Chapwanya (2005), Models for bioremediation, Ph.D.
Sean Lacey (2007), Modelling of rimming flows, Ph.D.
Marguerite Robinson (2007), Flow regime transitions in two phase flows, Ph.D.
Vincent Cregan (2011) Boundary value problems in the food industry, Ph.D.

Typical Postgraduate Projects
Michael Hayes (2001), Asymptotic and numerical modelling of thin film flows, PhD.
Michael Chapwanya (2005), Models for bioremediation, Ph.D.
Sean Lacey (2007), Modelling of rimming flows, Ph.D.
Marguerite Robinson (2007), Flow regime transitions in two phase flows, Ph.D.
Vincent Cregan (2011) Boundary value problems in the food industry, Ph.D.
Michael Hayes (2001), Asymptotic and numerical modelling of thin film flows, PhD.
Michael Chapwanya (2005), Models for bioremediation, Ph.D.
Sean Lacey (2007), Modelling of rimming flows, Ph.D.
Marguerite Robinson (2007), Flow regime transitions in two phase flows, Ph.D.
Vincent Cregan (2011) Boundary value problems in the food industry, Ph.D.
Michael Hayes (2001), Asymptotic and numerical modelling of thin film flows, PhD.
Michael Chapwanya (2005), Models for bioremediation, Ph.D.
Sean Lacey (2007), Modelling of rimming flows, Ph.D.
Marguerite Robinson (2007), Flow regime transitions in two phase flows, Ph.D.
Vincent Cregan (2011) Boundary value problems in the food industry, Ph.D.

Bubbles in Guinness and roll waves on an inclined road are scientifically very similar phenomena.
Image removed.
Image removed.
Photograph and asymptotic estimate of the effect of an intrusive sensor under a bandage in tension. Interested in Postgraduate studies?
Image removed.Image removed.Green's function computation and photograph of disturbance in thin film flow over a point defect on a television screen.Image removed.Image removed.Image removed.Image removed.If you are interested in obtaining postgraduate qualifications (Ph.D, M.Sc.) by research in applied mathematics, feel free to contact me for an informal discussion. See also Waves in Guinness,

Professional Activities

Association

  • President (2014-2015), The European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry (ECMI)

Peer Reviewed Journals

2008

Waves in Guinness

Robinson, M; Fowler, AC; Alexander, AJ; O'Brien, SBG (2008) Waves in Guinness. Physics Of Fluids

2003

Lithospheric failure on Venus

Fowler, AC; O'Brien, SBG (2003) Lithospheric failure on Venus. Proceedings Of The Royal Society Of London Series A-Mathematical Physical And Engineering Sciences :2663-2704

2000

Small exponent asymptotics

Fowler, AC; Kember, G; O'Brien, SGB (2000) Small exponent asymptotics. Ima Journal Of Applied Mathematics :23-38

Books

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Book Chapters

1997

Spin-coating over topography

Lammers, JA; O'Brien, SBG (1997) Spin-coating over topography. Fluid Mechanics of coating processes, World Scientific :278-290

Edited Books

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Other Journals

Conference Publications

2004

ISSEC 2004

M. Robinson, S.B.G. O'Brien (2004) ISSEC 2004. :*-*

2004

ISSEC 2004

M. Chapwanya, S.B.G. O¿¿Brien (2004) ISSEC 2004. :*-*

2004

ISSEC 2004.

S. Lacey, E.S. Benilov, S.B.G. O¿¿Brien (2004) ISSEC 2004.. :*-*

2002

ECMI 2002

S.B.G. O'Brien, V. Casey (2002) ECMI 2002. :*-*

2002

ISSEC

M. Chapwanya, S.B.G. O¿Brien (2002) ISSEC. :*-*

2001

ISSEC 2001

D. Tocher, S.B.G. O¿Brien (2001) ISSEC 2001. :*-*

2001

IMS 2001

M. Hayes, S. O¿Brien (2001) IMS 2001. :*-*

2001

ISSEC 2001

M. Hayes, S.B.G. O¿Brien (2001) ISSEC 2001. :*-*

2000

IUTAM 2000

S.B.G. O¿Brien, M Hayes (2000) IUTAM 2000. :*-*

2000

STAMM 2000

S.B.G. O¿Brien, M Hayes (2000) STAMM 2000. :*-*

2000

ECMI 2000

S.B.G. O'Brien, M. Hayes (2000) ECMI 2000. :*-*

2000

IMS 2000

R. Fantoni, S.B.G. O'Brien (2000) IMS 2000. :*-*

2000

IMS 2000

S.B.G. O¿Brien, M. Hayes (2000) IMS 2000. :*-*

1999

I.M.S. meeting

S.B.G. O¿Brien with M.A. Hayes (1999) I.M.S. meeting. :*-*

1998

D.I.T.

S.B.G. O¿Brien with M.A. Hayes & J.H. Lammers (1998) D.I.T.. :*-*

1998

ECMI 98

S.B.G. O¿Brien (1998) ECMI 98. :*-*

1997

ISSEC

S.B.G. O¿Brien (1997) ISSEC. :*-*

1994

ECMI

S.B.G. O¿Brien (1994) ECMI. :*-*

Conference Contributions

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Published Reports

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Editorials

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Book Reviews

This author has not written any publications of this type yet.

Other Publications