Position: Professor, College of Engineering, University of Canterbury.
Fields: Sports aerodynamics, computer modelling of fluid flow, biological fluid flow including breathing, blood flow, blood spatter dynamics for forensic science, injury biomechanics.
Dr Mark Jermy has applied his expertise in the dynamics of flow to several fields – from cycling aerodynamics, to the behaviour of blood droplets at crime scenes, to helping develop new breathing therapies and developing new methods for computer modelling of fluid flow.
What I enjoy is that there’s always something new to learn, the work I do helps people directly, I get to travel, and I meet all sorts of people.
Inspired by Dr Who and Dad
Mark has always been interested in science. His father was an engineer and was always curious about how things worked. This inspired Mark, as did his favourite TV character, Dr Who, because he did interesting things, solved problems with science and always tried hard to make the right ethical choices.
After enjoying science and physics at school, Mark went on to do a degree in physics at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He did his PhD at the University of Kent in the UK, looking at how the structure of glass gave it its peculiar properties.
Never be daunted by people smarter or more able than you. Watch what they do, and think about how you can learn from it.
After his PhD, Mark got into fluid mechanics when he worked for the Ministry of Defence on some high-energy events (explosions!). He enjoyed that job and learnt that there’s no need to feel inferior to others – everyone’s different, and the best skill of all is being adaptable and able to learn and develop.
After a while in that job Mark wanted more variety, so he went to Cranfield University as a postdoctoral researcher, where he worked on fuel injection sprays.
Mark decided to move to New Zealand with his wife and two young daughters for a better quality of life. He was lucky when the job at the University of Canterbury came up – with only eight universities, jobs in the right field don’t come up often!
One of the great things Mark finds about his job now is that, in a small country such as New Zealand, sometimes a person has to learn to be an expert in a field – and sometimes, quickly! Mark finds Kiwis to be flexible, willing to learn and with many great ideas.
Most of Mark’s spare time is occupied being a dad to his two daughters. He loves helping them discover the world. In 2010, they were able to visit Taiwan and China together – a fascinating experience.
This article is based on information current in 2011 and updated in 2018.
Mark's work on fluid dynamics has also led him to work in forensics where he uses his knowledge of physics and applies it to sprays and droplets of blood at crime scenes. Find out more in this RNZ interview here.