Imperial College London

Emeritus Professor Ray Rivers

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Distinguished Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 7830r.rivers Website




509Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I am a member of the Theoretical Physics Group and the cross-disciplinary Centre for Complexity Science (CCS), My current research follows two broad, but very different, paths that reflect this duality; fields and complex spatial networks.

My work on complexity, which is currently my major activity, is frequently in collaboration with Tim Evans of the Theoretical Physics Group and students at the CCS and addresses issues in modelling archaeological data and its networks. In this I am part of a mainly European grouping incorporating computer scientists and archaeologists. Such modelling is strongly influenced by that used in contemporary urban planning for transport and by ecologists and economists. Like astrophysics, archaeology is intrinsically Bayesian.  We have found that an information-theoretic approach can be very productive in implementing ceteris paribus, the last resort when data is poor. I am currently using generalised entropies (Renyi/Tsallis) and q-deformed algebra to help understand a) the most useful ontologies of data sets b) to characterise the development of early technology and c) to analyse historic exchange networks.

Whereas quantum field theory papers can be found easily on the arXiv, in archaeology no such archiving exits. My archaeology papers occur equally in journals (e.g. Antiquity) and monographs (sometimes published years after the event). Tim Evans' web page gives access to some of them.



Diachenko A, Rivers RJ, Sobkowiak-Tabaka I, 2023, Convergent evolution of prehistoric technologies: the entropy and diversity of limited solutions, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol:30, ISSN:1072-5369, Pages:1168-1199

Gheorghiade P, Vasiliauskaite V, Diachenko A, et al., 2023, Entropology: an information-theoretic approach to understanding archaeological data, Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Vol:30, ISSN:1072-5369, Pages:1109-1141

Rivers R, Evans T, 2020, How do we avoid imposing the present on the past when modelling spatial interactions?, Documenta Praehistorica, Vol:47, ISSN:1318-6701, Pages:462-475

Lee D-S, Lin C-Y, Rivers RJ, 2020, Large phonon time-of-flight fluctuations in expanding flat condensates of cold Fermi gases, Journal of Physics-condensed Matter, Vol:32, ISSN:0953-8984

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