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About Dr Graham Spink

As an undergraduate, Graham studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in theoretical physics, before continuing as a graduate student to do research with Prof. Richard Needs in the Theory of Condensed Matter group in the Cavendish Laboratory.

He was appointed as a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at the University of Chester in 2015 and became a Senior Lecturer in 2019. Prior to this, he served in what was then called the Natural Sciences Department at Chester as a Visiting Lecturer, and he continues to teach on the Physics course as well as on the Chemical Engineering programme. He has also taught in small group settings at the University of Cambridge. Before attending university, he was employed as a researcher at Shell Global Solutions, where he helped to develop computational models of lubricant performance in road cars.


Graham teaches fluid mechanics and heat transfer for second-year chemical engineering students, extending the work covered in the first-year on these topics.  He also teaches chemical reaction engineering for third-year chemical engineers; this work centres around understanding how to select and design industrial-scale chemical reactors for a range of processes.  In addition, Graham introduces quantum mechanics to the first-year physics students and covers advanced quantum Monte Carlo methods for the third-year physicists. 


It is now possible to predict and explain a wide range of processes on the atomic level, using as input nothing more than the atomic numbers of the constituent elements.  Material properties like electrical conductivity, tensile strength or boiling point can be calculated with increasing accuracy and efficiency, while chemical reactions and even biological processes like photosynthesis are being studied from first principles.  Much of Graham's research involves developing and applying novel computational approaches to these quantum mechanics problems.  Computational modelling of this sort helps scientists and engineers develop improved chemical processes and new products, ranging from powerful medicines to environmentally-friendly materials.

Graham is also interested in experimental and computational work in chemical reaction engineering and in the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to industrial process control problems.  He supervises several externally-funded master's and PhD students in these areas, in collaboration with industrial partners based at Thornton Science Park and with other members of staff at the University of Chester.

Published Work

G. G. Spink, P. López Ríos, N. D. Drummond, R. J. Needs, Trion formation in a hole-doped homogeneous electron gas, Phys. Rev. B 94, 041410(R) (2016).
This paper was chosen by the journal as an Editors' Suggestion, a scheme to highlight articles of "particular interest, importance or clarity."

G. G. Spink, R. J. Needs, N. D. Drummond, Quantum Monte Carlo study of the three-dimensional spin-polarized homogeneous electron gas, Phys. Rev. B 88, 085121 (2013).

N. D. Drummond, P. López Ríos, A. Ma, J. R. Trail, G. G. Spink, M. D. Towler and R. J. Needs, Quantum Monte Carlo study of the Ne atom and the Ne+ ion, J. Chem. Phys. 124, 224104 (2006).