Pierre-Philippe Dechant,
Mathematical Physicist And Biologist
Dr Pierre-Philippe Dechant is a mathematical physicist and biologist with interests in aspects of geometry and symmetry wherever they occur in the natural world. Concrete applications in three dimensions include the structure of viruses, fullerenes and quasicrystals; less intuitive perhaps, but intimately mathematically related, are the geometry of higher dimensions (in particular that of four and eight dimensions), and applications to gravitational and high energy physics, such as string theory and the structure of cosmological singularities.
I am interested in various aspects of euclidean, spherical, hyperbolic and conformal geometry. Interesting symmetries seem to revolve around reflections and rotations - related concepts are Coxeter groups, root systems, Lie algebras and Lie groups, lattices and quasilattices. Clifford algebra is a particularly convenient framework for reflections and I have shown that it can thus be a useful tool for topics in geometry and symmetry.
I have had a long-standing interest in immunology and virology of nearly 20 years, having done a placement at the Institute of Immunology and my national service at the Institute of Virology, Essen. The obvious connection with the above mathematics (group theory) is via the highly symmetrical structures of virus capsids, but I am also interested in virology more broadly, in particular immunological, clinical, ecological and evolutionary aspects.
I am passionate about science outreach (I organise the international Pint of Science Festival in York) and diversity (I am a panelist for the Equality Challenge Unit's Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter).
I am a lecturer in Mathematics and Biology at the University of York, teaching Applications of Group Theory in Virology, Principles of Molecular Virology and (next year) Numerical Techniques for Modelling Biological Systems. Previous and current institutional affiliations include York Maths, York Biology, York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA), Durham Maths, ASU Physics, Durham Physics, Cambridge Maths and Physics, Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge, Institute of Virology Essen and Harvard.