Jamie Quinn

Applied Mathematician

About Me

Currently studying at University of Glasgow writing my thesis on anisotropic viscosity in the solar corona. I also play fiddle, make art using algorithms and mathematics, and dabble in mathematical modelling in cancer and oceanography.


University of Glasgow

PhD, Applied Mathematics


My PhD research involved adding a novel model of viscosity to the magnetohydrodynamic equations and studying the effect on stressed magnetic null points, the Kelvin-Helomholtz instability in a magnetic null point and the kink instability in a coronal loop. These magnetic structures and instabilities are important pieces of the coronal heating problem and understanding the nature of viscosity is important for understanding precisely how energy is transferred into heat in the corona. My thesis title is Anisotropic Viscosity and Astrophysical Applications.

At UKMHD 2017 I was awarded the Early Career Researcher Outstanding Poster prize.

I’ve attended the following training programs:

  • Introductory Solar System Plasma Physics Summer School, St. Andrews, Scotland, 2016
  • Summer of HPC Training, Ostrava, Czech Republic, 2017
  • Advanced MHD Summer School, Udine, Italy, 2018
  • International High Performance Summer School, Kobe, Japan, 2019
  • FLOW: Machine Learning in Fluid Dyanamics, Stockholm, Sweden, 2019

University of Glasgow

MSci, Mathematics and Physics (First)


Studying both mathematics and physics presented me with the opportunity to explore different fields of study and areas of research. Drawing on my strengths in numerical simulation, mathematical modelling and fluid dynamics, I excelled, being awarded the MacKay Smith prize for excellence in physics. I wrote two dissertations as part of my degree:

  • Masters Dissertation: Double-Diffusive Convection
  • Honours Dissertation: 2D Topological Quantum Field Theories


Beatson Institute for Cancer Research



  • Developed a novel mathematical model of the interaction between GFP-CRIB in the cytoplasm of a cell, and Rac in the membrane.
  • Implemented the model numerically in both 2D and 3D using a finite-element method.

University of Glasgow Students' Representative Council


Postgraduate Convenor, Research


Postgraduate Convenor, Science and Engineering


  • Elected to represent over 2000 students at the highest level of the university.
  • Guided the overhaul of representation structures at the postgraduate level.
  • Drafted a new policy document covering the wellfare of GTAs as part of the GTA Working Group.
  • Represented the SRC at the Global Student Leadership Forum in Chengdu, China

University of Glasgow


Graduate Teaching Assistant (Mathematics)


Graduate Teaching Assistant (Academic Writing)


  • Created teaching materials for a 4th year numerical methods course and a conversion to physics course.
  • Lectured in academic writing.
  • Marked exams, essays, assignments and coursework.
  • Ran tutorials on academic writing, applied mathematics, numerical methods, calculus and linear algebra.
  • Mentored students in conference skills.

Glasgow Guardian


Editor, Science and Technology


  • Established the Science and Technology section.
  • Managed a team of writers.
  • Edited and proofread articles.
  • Pitched potential articles at weekly meeting.
  • Conducted interviews.

Pint of Science


Team Leader, Creative Reactions


  • Managed a team of four.
  • Led the organisation and marketing of a popup art exhibition.

ICHEC, Dublin


High Performance Computing Intern


  • Developed a new computer graphics algorithm based on radiosity.
  • Implemented the algortihm in C++ using OpenGL.
  • Published blog posts and produced videos for outreach.

Find a Player


Software Development Intern


  • Developed on a back-end API written in Ruby and Elixir for a mobile-based social app.
  • Managed databases through SQL.
  • Maintained continuous integration automation.
  • Administered AWS configuration using Terraform.

Freelance Software Developer


  • Designed web-scraping tools to populate ebook metadata.
  • Applied OCR technology to automate the processing of sensitive billing information.

Code Showcase

A 2D pseudo-spectral code designed to simulate double-diffusive phenomena

Following the ideas of Glatzmaier in Introduction to Modeling Convection in Planets and Stars this is a code written in C++ designed as an educational project to explore different numerical methods and techniques. The long-term goal is to efficiently simulate thermohaline staircase dynamics. The numerical method is second order and explicit in time, with adaptive time-stepping. Space is discretised vertically using finite difference and horizontally using a spectral method. Nonlinear terms are calculated via a spectral-transform method employing FFTs. The code has been parallelised using both OpenMP and CUDA.

An SDF file format manipulation tool

When visualising data stored in SDF files outputted from the numerical magnetohydrodynamics code Lare3d, it’s very useful to be able to remove parts of the computational domain that have no use to the visualisation. SDF-Tool allows users to do just that, allowing the manipulation of SDF files to reduce file size and improve efficiency of visualisation pipelines. Written in Fortran.

Simulating GFP-CRIB molecules within cancer cells

This is a finite-element code designed to simulate the complex inverse problem of the interaction between GFP-CRIB in the cytoplasm and Rac in the membrane. Both 2D and 3D cells are simulated. The code is written in Python and leverages the procedural meshing and finite-element matrix construction of the library PyMesh.


The effect of anisotropic viscosity on the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in a null point

In prep.

Quinn, J. & MacTaggart, D.

The effect of anisotropic viscosity on the nonlinear MHD kink instability



Quinn, J., MacTaggart, D., & Simitev, R. D.

Braginskii magnetohydrodynamics for arbitrary magnetic topologies: coronal applications



MacTaggart, D., Vergori, L., & Quinn, J.


Summer of High Performance Computing Internship

£6k, estimated

International High Performance Summer School

£2k, estimated

UofG Science and Engineering Graduate School Innovation Fund



The effect of anisotropic viscosity on the nonlinear kink instability

Solar and Magnetospheric Theory Group Seminar, St. Andrews

September 2019

On applications of anisotropic viscosity to the kink instability.

Stairway to Haline

International High Performance Computing Summer School, Kobe, Japan

July 2019

On thermohaline staircases and simulating them using a double-diffusive convection code.

An Implementation of the Switching Model of Anisotropic Viscosity in Lare3d

NAM, Lancaster

July 2019

On implementing the switching model of anisotropic viscosity in the code Lare3d and applying it to stressed magnetic null points and the kink instability.

The Effect of Anisotropic Viscosity on the Nonlinear Kink Instability

LOOPS19, St. Andrews

June 2019

Poster on the application of anisotropic viscosity to the kink instability and implications for coronal heating. This presentation was given to an audience experienced in coronal physics.

Applications of an Anisotropic Viscous Stress Tensor to Coronal Heating

University of Strathclyde SIAM-IMA Conference

April 2019

On the application of anisotropic viscosity to the kink instability and implications for coronal heating. The presentation was given to an audience without a background in physics.

Ansiotropic Viscosity: How Runny is the Sun?

3 Minute Thesis

February 2019

A lay description of my research given in precisely three minutes for the 3 minute thesis competition.

UofG: Students' Representative Council

Global Student Leadership Forum, Cheng Du, China

November 2018

On how the Student Representative Council at UofG functions and ensures representation is available to every student.

Hot Stuff: An Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics

University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

August 2018

Introducing the mathematically interesting theorems (e.g. Alfvén’s frozen in theorem) of magnetohydrodynamics to pure mathematics researchers.

The Mathematics of Synthesis

University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

March 2018

On the mathematical underpinnings of frequency modulation, additive and subtractive synthesis in a musical context. This involved writing a bytebeat synthesizer and creating a violin sound from scratch on my MicroKorg.

Radiosity: Global Illumination in Computer Graphics

University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

August 2017

On the derivation of the equations of radiosity (i.e. how light bounces around a physical space) and how they can be encoded into an algorithm for photorealistic rendering computer graphics.

Anisotropic Viscosity in MHD: Heating Profiles About Coronal Null Points

UKMHD, Durham

March 2017

Poster on my work applying anisotropic viscosity to null points which are twisted at their footpoints. This won the early career researcher outstanding poster award.

Mathematics in Art

University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

February 2017

On various kinds of mathematical and generative art, including regex art, fractals and Lorenz systems.