Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Professor of Theoretical Physics



+44 (0)20 7594 7574k.christensen Website




Mrs Carolyn Dale +44 (0)20 7594 7579




1226, Center for Complexity ScienceElectrical EngineeringSouth Kensington Campus





Research interest

Theoretical and numerical aspects of complex systems, addressing the spontaneous emergence of patters and organisation in non-equilibrium systems composed of many interacting entities. My research has often been a integration of theoretical, computational and experimental studies of complex systems involving a rigorous mathematical approach to pioneer new ways of analysing such systems quantitatively. I have been working within the area of complexity science for about 25 years, developing and applying transferable tools and techniques to real world systems in many different contexts: geology (earthquake & reservoir engineering), atmospheric physics (rain), biology (evolution & social insects), sociology (organisational science), medicine (brain & heart) and fire safety (smouldering). In 2005, I co-authored together with Dr. Nicholas Moloney a pedagogical textbook entitled “Complexity and Criticality”.

Keywords: Complexity science, emergent phenomena, self organisation, scale invariance, earthquakes, evolution, networks, atrial fibrillation. 

Higher education

03.1993: Ph.D. degree in Science, Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Århus, Denmark.

05.1990: Master in Science, Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Århus, Denmark.



Franks N, Worley A, Falkenberg McGillivray M, et al., 2019, Digging the optimum pit: antlions, spirals and spontaneous stratification, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:286, ISSN:1471-2954

Fernandez-Anez N, Christensen K, Frette V, et al., 2019, Simulation of fingering behavior in smoldering combustion using a cellular automaton, Physical Review E, Vol:99, ISSN:2470-0045

Garcia Millan R, Pruessner G, Pickering L, et al., 2018, Correlations and hyperuniformity in the avalanche size of the Oslo Model, Europhysics Letters: a Letters Journal Exploring the Frontiers of Physics, Vol:122, ISSN:1286-4854

McGillivray MF, Cheng W, Peters NS, et al., 2018, Machine learning methods for locating re-entrant drivers from electrograms in a model of atrial fibrillation, Royal Society Open Science, Vol:5, ISSN:2054-5703

Fernandez-Anez N, Christensen K, Rein G, 2017, Two-dimensional model of smouldering combustion using multi-layer cellular automaton: The role of ignition location and direction of airflow, Fire Safety Journal, Vol:91, ISSN:0379-7112, Pages:243-251

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