I am a senior lecturer in Maths & Stats within the School of Engineering and Information Technology at Murdoch University (associated with both the Maths&Stats group and the physics group), a visiting fellow/campus visitor at both the Australian National University and a ‘Privatdozent‘ (associate lecturer) of the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. I refer to my field of research as ‘Materials geometry’, that is, the materials science and physics of complex nano- or micro-structured materials addressed through the goggles of geometry, including hyperbolic, computational and stochastic geometry. A particular research focus are ordered network-like nanogeometries based on triply-periodic surfaces and nets, formed spontaneously by self-assembly or in biological systems, with a variety of interesting properties, from photonics to mechanics, and with a likely role in many biological processes. I enjoy interdisciplinary work, between mathematical modeling, physics, physical chemistry and materials science.


2013 Habilitation (Dr. rer. nat. habil.), Physics, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

2005 PhD, Physical Sciences, Australian National University (pdf of thesis)

2000 Diplom-Physik, Physics, Universität Köln, Germany


Mar 2015 – present: senior lecturer, Murdoch University, School of Engineering and Information Technology, Maths & Stats, Murdoch, Australia

Oct 2006 – Feb 2015: lecturer, senior lecturer and acting professor, Theoretische Physik I (LS Klaus Mecke), Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Feb 2005 – Aug 2006: Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian National University, Department of Applied Maths, Research School of Physical Sciences

Jun 1999 – Jun 2000: Research assistant, John Von Neumann Institute for Computing, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

Oct 1993 – Dec 1994: Class room assistant, School for Mentally Handicapped Children (now Förderschule Redwitzstraße),  Cologne, Germany (replacement for compulsory military service)

Visiting fellowships & other affiliations

2013 – pr  Member of the Cluster of Excellence “Engineering of Advanced Materials

Feb 2012 – Apr 2012: visiting fellow, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne

Feb 2011 – present: visiting fellow/campus visitor, Department Applied Maths, Research School of Physical Science, Australian National University

2011-2017: Founding member and principal investigator of DFG funded research group “Geometry and Physics of Spatial random systems

Jun 2000 – Aug 2000: Visiting research student, Laboratory of Physics, Technical University Helsinki (HUT, now Aalto University), Finland (Host: Prof Mikko Alava)

Professional service

2017 – present: Chair of Organising Committee for 2018 AIP Biannual Congress (9-14 Dec 2018, Perth).

2017 – present: Chair of the Western Australian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics.

2017-present: Member of scientific committee for conference ‘Living Light 2018

2016: Member of Murdoch University’s Academic Council

2016: Deputy Chair (2016) of the Western Australian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics.

2016: Member of the GSOFT Program Committee of the American Physical Society (APS).

Conference organisation

Mar 2018 Organisation (with Prof Doug Cleaver and Prof Karen Daniels) of Focus Session “Aspherical Particles in Soft Matter Self-Assembly and Granular Matter” (joint session 2.1.2 of GSOFT & GSNP), invited speaker: Prof Marjolein Djikstra)  at the American Physical Society (APS) Spring Meeting in Los Angeles, 5-9 Mar 2018

Sept 2017 Member of organising committee of conference Geometry and Physics of Spatial Random Systems, Bad Herrenalb/Germany, 10-15 September 2017

Mar 2017 Symposium “Bioinspired Functional Materials: From Nature’s Nanoarchitectures to Nanofabricated Designs” (SYBM) at the Spring Meeting of the German Physical Society (DPG), Dresden 19-24 March 2017. (joint organisation with Karin Jacobs and Robert Magerle)

Mar 2017 Organisation (with Annela Seddon, Cecile Leal and Mahesh Mahanthappa) of Focus Session “New Mesophase Symmetries and Topologies in Self-Assembled Soft Matter” (invited speaker: Frank Bates) at the American Physical Society (APS) Spring Meeting in New Orleans, Mar 2017

Sept 2016 Organisation of Boden Research Conference 2016 “Animal, Vegetal, Mineral‘, 19-23 Sept 2016, Yallingup, Western Australia (more information)

Nov 2015 session organiser for Symposium ‘TT: Topology in Materials Science—Biological and Functional Nanomaterials, Metrology and Modeling‘ (joint organisation with Sanju Gupta, Zhong Fang and Avadh Saxena) at the MRS Fall Meeting, 29 Nov – 4 Dec 2015, Boston/MA

Sept 2015 member of organising committee of conference Shape Up: Exercises in Materials Geometry and Topology, Berlin, 14-18 September 2015 (joint organisation with Myfanwy Evans, Frank Lutz, Bodo Wilts and Andrew Kraynik)

Sept 2015 member of organising committee of conference Geometry and Physics of Spatial Random Systems, Bad Herrenalb/Germany, 7-11 September 2015

Aug 2015 Conference ‘Physics of Cells: From Molecules to Systems (PhysCell 2015)‘, 30 Aug – 4 Sept 2015, Bad Staffelstein, Germany (I played a lesser role as one of many members of the co-organisation committee)

Mar 2015 Focus session “Beyond the Gyroid: Complex Network Phases in Self-Assembled Soft Materials“, joint organiser with Jacob Kirkensgaard (Niels Bohr Institute Copenhagen), American Physical Society Spring Meeting, San Antonio / Texas, 2-6 March 2015

Sept 2014, chair (jointly with Thorsten Poeschel) of organising committee of conference Jam-Packed: Packing and Jamming of Particulate Systems , Erlangen/Germany, 15-18 Sept 2014

Oct 2011, member of organising committee of conference Geometry and Physics of Spatial Random Systems, Freudenstadt/Germany, 9-13 September 2013

Oct 2011, chair (jointly with Stephen Hyde) of conference organisation committee Geometry of interfaces – topological complexity in materials and biology, Primosten, Croatia, 3–7 October 2011

Jul 2011, member of organising committee of conference  “Geometry and Physics of Spatial Random Systems”, Bad Herrenalb (Germany), 26-29 July 2011 (I played a lesser role in the organising committee consisting of the GPSRS principal investigators)

May 2010, scientific program committee of European Polymer Conference (EUPOC 2010) on “Hierarchically Structured Polymers, Gargnano Lago Di Garda, Italy, 30 May – 4 June 2010 (Joint organiser with Robert Magerle and Julio San Roman of the scientific program)

Scientific publications

Click here for a complete list of my publications (or here for google Scholar, ORCIDScopus Author ID or Research ID).  I have published over 80 scientific articles in total, including around 70 peer-reviewed articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. My publications have been cited around 1,700 times, with a google scholar H-index of 23.

Editorial activities

2017  Co-organiser of the June 2017 issue of Interface Focus “Growth and function of complex forms in biological tissue and synthetic self-assembly” (jointly with Stephen Hyde, Myfanwy Evans and Bodo Wilts)

2012  Co-organiser of the October 2012 issue of Interface Focus (“Geometry of interfaces: topological complexity in biology and materials” (jointly with Stephen Hyde)

Invited conference presentation

(for an incomplete list of contributed talks, click here)

2018 Workshop Program “Bioinspired optics and photonics – From Metamaterials to Applications”, Invited Talk, Max-Planck-Institute for Complex Systems, Dresden (date to be advised)

Apr 2018 ICERM Workshop “Computation and Optimization of Energy, Packing, and Covering“, invited talk, Brown University, The Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM), 9-13 Apr 2018

Dec 2017 “Inspired by nature : photonic materials based on the gyroid nanogeometry”, invited talk, Material Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting 2017, Symposium BM3 ‘Biological and Bioinspired Materials for Photonics and Electronics – From Living Organisms to Devices‘, 27 Nov – 1 Dec 2017

July 2017 Mechanical and photonic meta-materials: function through geometric design“, keynote lecture, workshop  “Geometric Aspects of Materials Science” within the Computational Geometry Week (CG Week 2017), Brisbane 3-6 July 2017

Sept 2016 Local Structure Metric Based on Voronoi Diagram and Minkowski Tensors Reveals Non-Universality in Random Ellipsoid Packings”, invited presentation, Packing across length scales – 3rd international conference on packing problems, Shanghai, 29 Aug – 1 Sept 2016.

July 2016 “Chiro-optical effects in disordered photonics: Harmonic distortions enhance circular dichroism of Gyroids, and stochastic noise does not destroy it”, invited presentation, META 2016, Malaga 25-28 July 2016 (link to pdf of slides)

Dec 2015 “Chiro-optical materials inspired by the handed single gyroid structure in green butterflies”, invited presentation, PacifiChem 2015 conference, symposium on The Physical Structure, Function of Biological and Bioinspired Soft Matter, Honolulu/Hawaii, 15-20 Dec 2015

Nov 2015 “Butterfly Gyroids: Can we understand formation mechanisms by studying shape?”, Presentation, Kioloa Workshop of the Department of Applied Maths, Australian National University, Kioloa Coastal Campus, Kioloa NSW 2-4 Nov 2015

Jul 2015 “Minkowski tensor morphology measures for granular and cellular structures: Can you tell the point process from its average cell shape?”, keynote lecture, 14th International Congress for Stereology & Image Analysis, Liege/Belgium, 6-10 July 2015.

Jun 2015 “Minkowski tensor shape analysis of cellular, granular and porous structures”, invited talk, Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference, Minisymposium 96: Pore Morphology in Deforming Geomaterials: Observation, Characterization, and Modeling to Improve Performance of Critical Urban Systems. Stanford University on June 16-19, 2015 (participation cancelled)

Apr 2015Iridescence, Inclination & Circular Dichroism in Gyroid Photonic Crystals“,  invited presentation, The Rank Prize Funds Symposium on the Perception of Iridescence, Grasmere/UK, 20-23 April 2015

Mar 2015The Tricontinuous 3ths(5) Phase: A New Morphology in Copolymer Melts“,  invited presentation, German Physical Society Meeting Berlin, 16-20 March 2015

Sept 2014 “Characterizing anisotropic features of cellular and granular structures by Minkowski tensors”, two invited lectures at Workshop on Tensor Valuations in Stochastic Geometry and Imaging, Sandbjerg Estate, Sonderborg, Denmark, 21-26 Sept 2014.

Aug 2014Eight-fold Intergrowth of Gyroid Nets: A Chiral Dielectric Material with Optical Activity Comparable to That of Meta-materials“, invited talk at PIERS 2014 – Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium PIERS in Guangzhou, China, 25-28 August, 2014

Jul 2014 Keynote lecture at conference on ’Lipid Cubic Phases: from Fundamentals to Applications’, organised by John Seddon and Calum Drummond, Heron Island, 30 Jul to 2 Aug 2014.

Apr 2014, ”Circular polarisation effects in Gyroid nanostructures: inspiration from butterfly wing-scales and biological relevance”, Living Light 2014: Living Light: Uniting biology and photonics, Namur (Belgium), 10-12 April 2014

Feb 2013, ”Jammed Particle Configurations: Local Structure Analysis by Minkowski Tensors”, Workshop on Non-Linear Response in Complex Matter, Erlangen (Germany), 25-27 Feb 2013

Dec 2012, “Mechanical Properties of Minimal Surface Scaffolds as Custom-Made Porous Solids”, International Workshop ”Through the looking-glass: a glimpse into the geometry of materials.”, Princeton University, 3-5 Dec 2012

Nov 2012, ”Multiple Entangled Chiral Nets Topology and the Transmission of circularly polarised light, Symposium on Geometry and Topology of Biomolecular and Functional Nanomaterials, MRS Fall Meeting, Boston, 25-30 Nov 2012

Sept 2012, ”The Shape of Voronoi Cells – Insight into Spherical Bead Packs”, InternationalWorkshop on Packing Problems, Dublin, 2-5 Sept 2012

Feb 2012, ”Minimal surfaces and nets as chiral photonic materials”, short talk, CUDOS workshop, Shoalhaven Bay, NSW, Australia, 31 Jan – 3 Feb 2012

Jul 2011, ”Disordered sphere and ellipsoid packings”, Workshop on Geometry and Physics of Spatial Random Systems, Bad Herrenalb, Germany, 26-29 July 2011

Mar 2011, ”Local Anisotropy of Fluids, Glasses and Jammed Bead Packs”, 75th Annual Meeting of the DPG and DPG Spring Meeting, Dresden (Germany), 13-18 March 2011

Aug 2010, ”Packing properties of minimal surfaces and self-assembly”, ECM26 XXVI European Crystallographic Meeting, MaThCryst Satellite Conference, 27-29 August 2010

Mar 2010, ”MorphologicalMeasures for Complex Polymer Geometries”, in lieu of K. Mecke, 10th Symposium on Polymer Blends, Dresden (Germany), 7-10 March 2010

Jul 2009, ”Morphology and Anisotropy Measures for Network Microstructures”, in lieu of K. Mecke, European Polymer Congress (EPF09), Graz, Austria, 12-17 July 2009

Sep 2007, ”Minkowski Tensor Valuations: Anisotropy Measures for Porous Materials”, joint invitation with K. Mecke, 14th internationalWorkshop on Stochastic Geometry, Stereology and Image Analysis, Neudietendorf, Germany, 23-28 Sept 2007

Seminars and colloquia

Nov 2017 “Versteckte Ordnung in ungeordneten Strukturen: Hyperuniformität in physikalischen Systemen”, Kolloquium University Chemnitz, Germany, Host: Prof Robert Magerle, 8 Nov 2017

Jun 2017 “Mixtures Pears and Oranges: From inverse micelles to labyrinth-like bicontinuous phases”, Seminar, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany, Host: Dr Christian Scholz and Prof Hartmut Löwen, 2 Jun 2017

Jun 2017 “Butterfly Gyroid Nanostructures and why bicontinuous phases matter to biology”, Seminar, Max-Planck Institute for Colloid and Interface Science in Potsdam, Germany, Host: Dr John Dunlop and Prof Peter Fratzl, 6 Jun 2017

Jan 2017 Butterfly nanostructures a glimpse of intracellular membrane development?, Biology Colloquium, National University Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences, Singapore, Host: Prof Antonia Monteiro, 27 Jan 2017

Jan 2017 “Inspired by nature: photonic materials based on the gyroid nanogeometry”, Seminar, University of Southhampton, UK, Host: Prof George Attard, 24 Jan 2017

Jan 2017 “How the ultrastructural organisation of solid butterfly structures reveals aspects of their dynamic formation process”, Seminar, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETHZ) Zürich, Laboratory of Food Science and Soft Matter, Switzerland, Host: Prof Raffaele Mezzenga, 20 Jan 2017

Jan 2017 “From Bicontinuous Minimal Surfaces in Nature to Tricontinuous Space Partitions in Chemistry”, Seminar, Kolloquium, Berliner Kolloquium für Visualisierung, Freie Universität Berlin, Host: Prof Konrad Polthier, 16 Jan 2017

Dec 2016 Labyrinth-like nanostructures in plant cells and insects – speculations on formation mechanisms and function“, Seminar, Copenhagen Plant Science Center (CPSC), Host: Prof Poul Erik Jensen, 21 Dec 2016

Dec 2016 Curvature and uniformity: geometric arguments for minimal surfaces in soft matter self-assembly“, Seminarium, Lund University, Sweden, Physical Chemistry, Host: Prof Tommy Nylander, 12 Dec 2016

Dec 2016 “Centroidal Voronoi Diagrams”, Seminar, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Mathematics Department, Institute for Stochastics, Host: Prof Günter Last, 6 Dec 2016

Dec 2016 Chirality of the Gyroid Nanostructure in butterflies“, School Seminar, University of Massachussetts at Amherst, Polymer Science and Engineering, Host: Prof Greg Grason, 2 Dec 2016

Nov 2016 “Butterfly nanostructures a glimpse of intracellular membrane development?”, Berkeley University, Department of Integrative Biology, Host: Prof Nipam Patel, 29 Nov 2016

Oct 2016 “Elastic Stiffness of Solid Porous Solids: ideas for meta-material designs and bone scaffolds”, Seminar, University of Western Australia, School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, Host: Prof Karol Miller, 26 Oct 2016

Aug 2016 The Tricontinuous 3ths(5) Phase: A New Morphology in Copolymer Melts, Seminar, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Host: A/Prof Lu Han and Prof Shunai Che, 31 Aug 2016

Jul 2016 “Photonic materials based on the gyroid nanogeometry”, Seminar, Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB), Host: Dr Myfanwy Evans, 13 July 2016

Jun 2016 “Inspired by Nature: Photonic materials based on butterfly nanostructures”, Presentation to a general meeting of the West Australian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics, 15 July 2016

Apr 2016 “Chitin nanostructures in green butterflies: Can a planar fluid cell help decipher the structure formation process?”, Presentation to a meeting of the West Australian Branch of the Australian New Zealand Industrial and Applied Maths Association (ANZIAM), 5 Apr 2016

Mar 2016 “Labyrinth-like nanostructures in some green butterflies”, Seminar, University of Western Australia, Center for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER), Host: Prof Boris Baer, 10 Mar 2016

Mar 2015 “Biophotonics with a twist: the chiral gyroid in butterfly wing-scales”, colloquium talk, Adolphe Merkle Institut, Fribourg, Switzerland, Host: Dr Bodo Wilts and Prof Ullrich Steiner, 10 Mar 2015

Jun 2014, “Biophotonics with a twist: the chiral Gyroid photonic crystal in butterfly wing-scales“, School seminar, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, The Australian National University, Host: Prof Hoe Tan, 26 June 2014

May 2014, “Biophotonics with a twist: the chiral photonic crystals in butterfly wing-scales“, Colloquium, University of Exeter, School of Physics, Host: Prof Peter Vukusic, 30 May 2014

Public lectures, exhibitions & outreach

Nov 2017, “Wenn Unordnung ein Vorteil ist: Wie stochastische Modelle in der Natur die moderne Materialwissenschaften inspirieren” (When being disorderly is not a disadvantage: stochastic models inspired by nature for modern materials science), Invited talk at WiMa-Kongress (open forum of the University Ulm, Germany), 11 Nov 2017

Aug 2017, Nature’s Amazing Palette, Outreach Presentation to Year 10 students at Applecross Senior High School, Perth, 15 Aug 2017

Aug 2017, Perth Science Festival, Master of Ceremony for Saturday Activities in Perth Convention Center, Perth, 12 Aug 2017

Jul 2017, AIP Women in Physics Day at Murdoch University, I was the organiser (jointly with Bruce Gardiner and Fiona Mochrie) of this event that attracted 350 school kids to a lecture on Astrophysics, experimental displays and a game-show-type event “The Boffins vs The Darwins” centered around several experiments.

Nov 2016, After-dinner speaker of the Australian Institute of Physics WA branch annual general meeting, “Only Entropy comes easy“, 16 Nov 2016, University of Western Australia

Aug 2016, AIP Women in Physics Day at Murdoch University, I was the main organiser of this event that attracted 540 school kids to a lecture on Quantum Dynamics, experimental displays and a panel discussion “Physics at University : Good for you and Good for Society”.

Okt 2013, Bierschaum und Leichtbaumaterial: Wo Geometrie die Physik macht, Public lecture as part of the university-wide open-day activity Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft in Erlangen on the physical mechanisms and properties of liquid foams, and their geometric origin.

Feb 2013, Physik auf dem Computer – Von Seifenblasen bis zu Schmetterlingsflügeln, Public lecture on the formation and purpose of spatial structure in soft matter.

Nov 2011, Minimal surfaces: from butterflies to human skin and 3D virtual reality. Public lecture as part of the university-wide open-day(or night, rather)-activity Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft Erlangen.

Nov 2011, Minimal surfaces: from butterflies to human skin and 3D virtual reality. Public lecture as part of the university-wide open-day(or night, rather)-activity Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft Erlangen.

Dec 2008, Sandman’s travel through the world of granular matter, Weihnachtsvorlesung (xmas-lecture) of the physics department of the University Erlangen (a theatrical performance involving about 20 staff and students built around eight granular matter experiments performed in front of an audience of more than 300)

Aug 2010, Development of puzzle toy ‘InfiniTiles’ to illustrate triply-periodic minimal surfaces. One of the co-inventors Stuart Ramsden received the ‘People’s choice award’ of the Australian Science Festival’s Big Ideas at Work competition in 2010.

May 2003, Participation in exhibition Factor of Ten – A Future Worth Having: science and art of the environment meet at the Australian National University. Saddle polyhedron joint with Gilbert Riedelbauch and Stephen Hyde, reported also in ’The Helix’ (Aug/Sept 2003) and Canberra Times (8 May 2003)


Jun 2017 Dean’s Award, School of Engineering and IT, Murdoch University

Nov 2014 Emmy-Noether Prize for an outstanding habilitation thesis at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Jul 2010 Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Physics Department of the University Erlangen (“Preis für eine hervorragend evaluierte Lehrveranstaltung”)

Aug 2010 (*) People’s choice award for mathematical puzzle toy In finiTiles at the Big Research Ideas @ Work competition as part of the Australian Science Festival, August 2010 (* the recipient of this prize was Stuart Ramsden, for joint work with Vincent Craig, Tim Senden and myself)

Oct 2003 First prize for the best student presentation at the Australian Partnership for Computing Conference 03, Gold Coast

Nov 2000 International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) provided by the Australian Government Department of Education, Training and Youth Aff airs, PhD Scholarship for study in 2001-05

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