David Pontin

+44 (0)1382 384466
Reader in Mathematics


David Pontin obtained his PhD from The University of St Andrews in 2004. He subsequently took up a postdoctoral position at the University of Waikato (New Zealand) before moving to a Research Scientist position in the Space Science Centre at the University of New Hampshire (USA).

He was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Dundee in 2007 and is now Reader in Mathematics.

His research interests include mathematical modelling of astrophysical plasmas and in 2011 he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

He is presently the Convener of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society’s Research Support Fund Committee.

Read more at his personal webpage.


His research is focused on investigating the properties of three-dimensional magnetic fields, primarily within the framework of magnetohydrodynamics. Magnetic fields play a crucial role in the dynamics of plasma on all scales in the universe, from galaxies to the Sun and the Earth’s magnetosphere.

One of the principal motivations for his work is to understand the dynamics of these astrophysical plasmas, which exhibit complex three-dimensional structure.

He is particularly interested in magnetic reconnection - the process that allows a magnetic field to change its topology, often accompanied by explosive energy release.

For further details visit his homepage or see the research page of the MHD Group.



  • Pontin, D. I. and Hornig, G., "The structure of current layers and degree of field line braiding in coronal loops, Astrophys. J. 805, 47 (2015).
  • Candelaresi, S., Pontin, D. I. and Hornig, G., "Mimetic Methods for Lagrangian Relaxation of Magnetic Fields", SIAM J. Sci Comput. 36, B952-B968 (2014).
  • Wyper, P. F. and Pontin, D. I., "Non-linear Tearing of 3D Null Point Current Sheets", Phys. Plasmas, 21, 082114 (2014).
  • Pontin, D. I., Priest, E. R. and Galsgaard, K., "On the nature of reconnection at a solar coronal null point above a separatrix dome", Astrophys. J., 774, 154 (2013).
  • Pontin, D. I., "Theory of magnetic reconnection in solar and astrophysical plasmas", Phil. Trans R. Soc. A, 370, 3169-3192 (2012).
  • Pontin, D. I., Wilmot-Smith, A. L., Hornig, G. and Galsgaard, K. "Dynamics of braided coronal loops. II: Cascade to multiple small-scale reconnection events", Astron. Astrophys., 525, A57 (2011).
  • Pontin, D. I., Bhattacharjee, A. and Galsgaard, K., "Current sheet formation and non-ideal behaviour at three-dimensional magnetic null points", Phys. Plasmas, 14, 052106 (2007).

A full list is available here.