Dr Phil Livermore

Dr Phil Livermore


I joined the University in 2009 as a 5 year NERC advanced fellow, and have recently become the director of the institute of Geophysics and Tectonics. I am interested in inverse theory, geomagnetism and using applied mathematics to describe geophysical problems.

Previous to my current position at Leeds, I obtained my PhD from the then School of Earth Sciences, University of Leeds in 2004, and then undertook postdoctoral research positions at the School of Mathematics at the University of Leeds, at the University of California, San Diego and at ETH, Zurich.


  • Director of Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Deputy Postgraduate Research Tutor
  • Chair of School IT committee

Research interests

Earth's magnetic field is a fundamental characteristic of our planet - important both for navigation and in protecting the surface from harmful radiation. Occasionally it undergoes global reverses; an article I co-wrote for The Conversation can be found here.   It is generated within the liquid core of our planet, by a process termed the 'geodynamo'. Observations of both how the surface magnetic field is structured and how these structures change over time help constrain the geodynamo mechanism which is hidden from view. My interests include

  • Numerical and theoretical low-viscosity models of the Earth's core
  • Rapid dynamics in the Earth's core, such as waves.
  • Predicting the Earth's internal magnetic field and its impact on space weather.
  • Analysing change in the ancient magnetic field.

More broadly, I am interested in numerical modelling, computing and inverse theory.

I am a member of the deep-Earth research group that straddles the School of Earth and Environment and the School of Mathematics.


A compendium of Galerkin polynomials can be found here.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Astonomical Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I teach Mathematics and Matlab for the Masters Programme in Exploration Geophysics and Mathematics for undergraduate programme in geophysics.

Research groups and institutes

  • Deep Earth
  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Planetary Exploration
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>