School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Patrick Briddon

Professor of Computational Physics


I have worked in Newcastle University since 1991 in the departments of physics, chemistry, electrical engineering and am currently the Professor of Computational Physics in the School of Engineering. I have an active research interest in the application of quantum mechanics to model the properties of materials, including molecules, nano structures, amorphous and crystalline solids. A particular interest is the way in which these materials are modified by the presence of defects.

I am particularly interested in the development of methods in many-electron quantum physics and the ways in which they can be specifically tailored to run on state of the art high performance computing facilities, computers which may contain 1000s of cores. I have served on numerous national committees relating to UK research infrastructure and policy in this area.


1987 BSc Theoretical Physics, University of Exeter, UK.
1990 PhD Theoretical Physics, University of Exeter, UK.


Fellow of the Institute of Physics.


I was the degree programme director for the degrees in physics, 2014-2016.


Patrick is a member of the Emerging Technologies and Materials research group, and his research profile can be viewed on  Google Scholar.

Research Interests

My work is concerned with the theoretical modelling of the properties of materials, primarily utilising principles techniques such as density functional theory. I am the author of the modelling package AIMPRO modelling program used by my group in Newcastle as well as other groups in the UK and internationally. I am highly involved in high performance computing in the UK and maintain a keen interest in the development and implementation of highly scaling numerical algorithms on massively parallel architectures.

Postgraduate Supervision

I have supervised seven postgraduate students over the last five years. Of these four have been awarded PhD degrees (all of whom currently hold academic or research assistant posts at HE institutes); one is writing up; the others are in their first and second years.


Fellow of the Institute of Physics.


Undergraduate Teaching

I currently teach the following lecture courses as part of the physics degree programmes
    PHY2022: Thermodynamics
    PHY2023: Statistical Physics
    PHY8035: Quantum Modelling of Molecules, Solids and Nanostructures

I have taught the following courses over the last few years:

Molecular modelling — a course taught to final year chemistry students introducing the rudiments of some of the computer modelling techniques used in chemistry.

Vibrations and Waves — a course taught to stage one students introducing the properties of vibrational motion and the propagation of waves.

Solid State Physics — a course taught to final year physics students covering crystallography, a quantum treatment of electrons in solids, phonons and the electron phonon interaction, semiconductor physics.

Computer modelling — a course that examines how some of the important differential equations of mathematical physics can be accurately and efficiently solved numerically using a computer.

Atomic Physics — a course looking at the electronic structure of atoms, including the Schroedinger treatment, fine structure, many electron effects (the Hartree method) and LS coupling.

Statistical Physics — a course taught to second year physics/natural science students introducing the fundamental principles underpinning this subject.

Quantum Mechanics — a mathematical treatment of many of the fundamental ideas of underpinning quantum theory.

Electromagnetism — a course given to stage 2 physics students introducing the formal structure of this subject up to Maxwell's equations, both in vacuo and in the presence of dielectric and magnetic materials. The solution of Maxwell's equations for electromagnetic waves in good dielectric and conductors.

Mathematical Methods —  a stage two course that covered vector analysis, Fourier analysis, integral transforms and differential equations.