Academic Profile : Faculty

Prof Simon Redfern.jpg picture
Simon Redfern
Dean, College of Science
President’s Chair in Earth Sciences
Professor, Asian School of the Environment
Professor, School of Materials Science & Engineering
Chair, Board of Governance, School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CCEB)
External Links
President’s Chair in Earth Sciences in the Asian School of the Environment, Dean of the College of Science

Professor Redfern is a mineralogist, trained as a crystallographer, who is interested in the links between atomic scale structure and the physical and chemical properties of planetary materials, from Earth’s oceans to its core. His scientific research career, focussed on mineral sciences and more broadly within geosciences, spans more than 35 years. He completed his PhD in 1989 at the University of Cambridge, Department of Earth Sciences, and until 2019 has held a full time academic appointment in a UK HEI. Initially, upon graduating with his PhD, he was appointed in 1989 at the University of Manchester as Lecturer in Geochemical Spectroscopy joint between Geology and Chemistry. Subsequently, in 1994, he returned to Cambridge as a Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences, and was then promoted to Reader and then Professor. In 2016 I he became Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He left Cambridge in 2019 to move to NTU and take up the post of President’s Chair in Earth Sciences, alongside the role of Dean of the College of Science. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

He is the recipient of the European Mineralogical Society’s Medal for Research Excellence and is the only individual to have been awarded both the Max Hey and Schlumberger Medals of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, of which he is a Fellow. He is also Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and of the Geological Society of London. Professor Redfern is keen to translate scientific discovery to wider audiences and served as a British Science Association Media Fellow working alongside journalists at the BBC for some time. He was also a member of the UK ministerially-appointed Committee on Radioactive Waste Management charged with providing independent scrutiny of the development of a geological radioactive waste repository in the UK.
Professor Redfern's work explores how minerals control and reflect Earth processes and he has worked in collaboration with a wide variety of Earth and environmental scientists, from climate scientists to volcanologists to palaeontologist to seismologists and even exoplanetary “geo”scientists. In all cases he is interested in how insights into nanometre scale features provide understanding of global processes. His work has extended to using insights from nature to develop new materials in the context of materials design and engineering.

His research interests focus on the physical and chemical properties of minerals and associated fluids in planetary interiors. He uses experimental and computational methods to understand the role of minerals in Earth and planetary processes at extreme pressures and temperatures. I has published more than 270 peer-reviewed papers in the scientific literature (H-index 46 [ISI], 54 [Google Scholar]), in internationally leading journals including Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters, Advanced Materials, Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters, JACS, Applied Physics Letters, and GRL. His research is highly inter-disciplinary and he has as many papers in the materials physics/chemistry literature as in geosciences.

Professor Redfern pioneered the development of combined high-pressure high-temperature methods for the study of materials and minerals by neutron scattering and was at the vanguard of researchers using neutron methods in Earth and planetary sciences, and built new facilities at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) for the wider user community, including the first high-temperature high-pressure Paris-Edinburgh Cell for deployment at neutron sources, now used worldwide. From 2003 to 2006 I was Chair of the working group that designed and implemented the Extreme Conditions Beam Line (I15) of the Diamond Light Source synchrotron.

He has edited several thematic sets of papers resulting from international scientific meetings that he convened, including a volume of Reviews in Mineralogy (Mineralogical Society of America) on "Transformation Processes in Minerals", his primary area of expertise. I have held several competitive UK research grants (total funding of more than £25m) and has led collaborations with a strong group of postdoctoral fellows and research students. He has supervised over 30 PhD students in Cambridge, and acted as postdoctoral mentor and advisor to more than 20 postdoctoral researchers, most of whom have gone on to permanent academic, business or governmental science positions.
  • Climate Transformation Programme
  • Climate Transformation Programme - Cluster 3 (Janice Lee)
  • Climate Transformation Programme - Cluster 3 (Simon Redfern)
  • Earth Materials at Extreme Conditions
  • Fluorine Storage in Forsterite, the Most Abundant Nominally Anhydrous Minerals in the Upper Mantle
  • Perovskite-Based Heterostructures with Tunable Novel Optoelectronic Properties and Applications
  • The Liquid-liquid Phase Transition (LLPT) of Water - Influence on Mineral Solubility