Dr Chris Breward

Lecturer in Mathematics


MA MSc DPhil (Oxon)

Academic Background

I was a mathematics undergraduate and graduate student at St Anne’s College (Oxford) in the 1990s. My DPhil thesis was about “The mathematics of foam”. I spent two years at Sheffield University working in the Department of Pathology, where I constructed some of the first mathematical models for vascular tumour growth. I returned to Oxford in 2001 to a position at the Mathematical Institute as a Research Facilitator (the first of its kind) which combined research with getting grants.  This was a very successful role and in 2008 we won a $25M grant from KAUST in Saudi Arabia to set up the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics (OCCAM). I was OCCAM’s Associate Director from 2008-2014 (when the money ran out).

I was the lead academic in the preparation of the Mathematical Sciences submission to REF 2014. We had the very pleasing result of coming top in every submeasure that the government used, as well as coming overall top (Yes, Oxford Mathematics is officially better than Cambridge Mathematics).

I am currently the co-Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industrially Focused Mathematical Modelling, which is an 8-year endeavour to train 60 applied maths DPhil students in the skills needed to tackle 21st Century industrial problems using cutting edge mathematical techniques.

I am an elected member of the University’s Delegacy for Military Instruction, and of the Council of the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications.

On the teaching front, I joined Christ Church’s teaching team in October 2004.

Undergraduate Teaching

I teach first and second year applied mathematics – calculus, dynamics, ODEs/PDEs, calculus of variations, fluid mechanics and mathematical biology. I occasionally teach intercollegiate classes in fluid mechanics for third years.   

Research Interests

My research is centred around explaining phenomena arising in industry and medicine. Often these involve fluid mechanics or heat and mass transfer. One key area of my work has been the study of surface-active agents, such as washing up liquid, which modify the surface tension of air-liquid interfaces and can fundamentally change fluid flows. I’m currently working on modelling tear films during blinking, glass manufacture, enhanced oil recovery, lubrication in engines, and filtering.


Here are some recent publications, which indicate my research interests:

Hennessy M, Breward CJW and Please CP (2016) A two-phase model for evaporating solvent-polymer mixtures SIAM J. Appl. Math. To appear

O'Kiely D, Breward CJW, Griffiths IM, Howell PD and Lange U (2015)  Edge behaviour in the glass redraw process. J. Fluid Mech., 785, 248-269. 

Breward CJW, Griffiths IM, Howell PD and Morgan M (2015)  Straining flow of a weakly interacting polymer-surfactant solution. Euro. J. Appl. Math., 26 (5), 743-772.

Morgan CE, Breward CJ, Griffiths IM and Howell PD (2015) Mathematical Modelling of Surfactant Self-Assembly at Interfaces. SIAM J. Appl. Math., 75(2), 836-860. 

Black JP, Breward CJ, and Howell PD (2015) Two-dimensional modelling of electron flow through a poorly conducting layer. SIAM J. Appl. Math., 75(2), 289-312. DOI:10.1137/140984105. 

Bruna M and Breward CJW (2014) The influence of nonpolar lipids on tear film dynamics. J Fluid Mech., 746, 565-605. DOI: 10.1017/jfm.2014.106  


I hold a commission in the Training Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer reserve, and currently command six Air Training Corps Squadrons in South and West Oxfordshire.