Accessibility statement

Dr John Bissell

Senior Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics


Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 2828

Areas of Expertise: Thermal convection; hydrodynamics and magnetised fluids; plasma transport and instability; dynamical systems; numerical analysis.




  • Ph.D. (Imperial College London)
  • M.A. (University of Cambridge)

Previous posts:

  • Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Warwick (2018-2019).
  • Teaching Fellow, University of Bath (2015-2017).
  • Research Associate, University of Durham (2012-2015).


Research interests

  • Thermal convection, and buoyancy driven instability.
  • Non-linear heat-flow, collisional transport, and kinetic theory.
  • Dynamical systems (especially ecological and sociological systems).
  • Theory and simulation of laser-produced plasmas.
  • Numerical analysis (sparse matrices, implicit solvers, and Chebychev-T algorithms).



  • Foundation Year Mathematics I
  • Foundation Year Mathematics II
  • First Year Engineering Mathematics
  • Second Year Group Projects
  • Third Year B.Eng. Individual Projects
  • Fourth Year M.Eng. Individual Projects



Refereed Journal Articles

J. J. Bissell, C. E. Ritchey, and F. Stevens, Measuring the moment-of-inertia of a rigid body using a swing pendulum, Physics Education, 58 : 065022 (2023).

J. J. Bissell, Proof of the small angle approximation sinθ≈θ using the geometry and motion of a simple pendulum, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 52(6):965—971 (2023).

J. J. Bissell and A. M. Nagaitis, Perfect and imperfect pitchfork bifurcations in a V-shaped spring-mass system, American Journal of Physics, 91 : 659 (2023).
J. J. Bissell, Bifurcation, stability, and critical slowing down in a simple mass-spring system, Mechanics Research Communications, 125 : 103967 (2022).
J. J. Bissell and A. M. Nagaitis, Infinity, self-similarity, and continued fractions in physics, Physics Education, 57: 055014 (2022).
J. J. Bissell, A. Ali, and B. J. Postle, Illustrating dimensionless scaling with Hooke’s law, Physics Education, 57: 023008 (2022).
J. J. Bissell, On the ubiquity of classical harmonic oscillators and a universal equation for the natural frequency of a perturbed system, American Journal of Physics, 89: 1094 (2021).
C. P. Ridgers, C. Arran, J. J. Bissell, and R. J. Kingham, The inadequacy of a magnetohydrodynamic approach to the Biermann battery, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 379: 20200017 (2021). 

J. J. Bissell, Clarifying misconceptions about Ohm’s law and power dissipation in grid electricity transmission, Physics Education, 56: 033009 (2021).
J. J. Bissell, Complex Numbers as Real Continued Fractions, The American Mathematical Monthly, 128(4): 336 (2021).
H. Narie, M. Fatehifar, A. H. Malt, J. J. Bissell, M. Souri, M. Nasr Esfahani, and M. Jabbari, Numerical Simulation of a Core-Shell Polymer Strand in Material Extrusion Additive, Polymers, 13: 476 (2021).
J. J. Bissell, An elementary proof of the exactness condition for first-order ordinary differential equations, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 52(6):965—971 (2021).
M. Sherlock and J. J. Bissell, Suppression of the Biermann Battery and Stabilization of the Thermomagnetic Instability in Laser Fusion Conditions, Physical Review Letters, 124, 055001 (2020).
J. J. Bissell and S. K. Bhamidimarri, Introducing the trapezoidal pendulum: dynamics of coupled pendula suitable for distance teaching, Physics Education, 55: 065008 (2020).
J. P. Brodrick, M. Sherlock, W. A. Farmer, A. S. Joglekar, R. Barrois, J. Wengraf, J. J. Bissell, R. J. Kingham, D. Del Sorbo, M. P. Read, and C. P. Ridgers, Incorporating kinetic effects on Nernst advection in inertial fusion simulations, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 60:084009 (2018). 
J. J. Bissell, The decline in the British bank population since 1810 obeys a law of negative compound interest, Business History, 59(5): 802-813 (2017). 
J. J. Bissell, Magnetised Thermal Convection with the Cattaneo-Christov Heat-Flow Model, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 472: 20160649 (2016).
J. J. Bissell, On Oscillatory Convection with the Cattaneo-Christov Hyperbolic Heat-Flow Model, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 471: 20140845 (2015). 
J. J. Bissell, Nernst Advection and the Field-Generating Thermal Instability Revisited, Journal of Plasma Physics, 81(1): 905810108 (2015). 

A. Bentley, E. J. Maddison, P. H. Ranner, J. J. Bissell, C. Caiado, P. Bhatanacharoen, T. Clark, M. Botha, F. Akinbami, M. Hollow, R. Michie, B. Huntley, S. Curtis, and P. Garnett, Social tipping points and Earth systems dynamics, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2: 35 (2014).
J. J. Bissell and B. Straughan, Discontinuity Waves as Tipping Points : Applications to Biological & Sociological Systems, Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - Series B, 19(7): 1911-1934 (2014). 

J. J. Bissell, C. C. S. Caiado, M. Goldstein and B. Straughan, Compartmental Modelling of Social Dynamics with Generalised Peer Incidence, Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences, 24(4): 719-750 (2014). 
B. E. R. Williams, R. J. Kingham and J. J. Bissell, Heat-flux effects on magnetic field dynamics in solid density plasmas traversed by relativistic electron beams, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 55: 095005 (2013). 
J. J. Bissell, C. P. Ridgers and R. J. Kingham, Super-Gaussian transport theory and the field- generating thermal instability in laser-plasmas, New Journal of Physics 15: 025017 (2013).

J. J. Bissell, R. J. Kingham and C. P. Ridgers, Magnetothermal instability in laser plasmas including hydrodynamic effects, Physics of Plasmas, 19: 052107 (2012). 
J. J. Bissell, C. P. Ridgers and R. J. Kingham, Field Compressing Magnetothermal Instability in Laser-Plasmas, Physical Review Letters, 105: 175001 (2010).

Books Edited

J. J. Bissell, C. C. S. Caiado, S. E. Curtis, M. Goldstein and B. Straughan (Editors), Tipping Points : Modelling Social Problems and Health, Wiley (2015).

Book Chapters

J. J. Bissell, Chapter 10: “Conformity Bias and Catastrophic Social Change” in Tipping Points : Modelling Social Problems and Health, Bissell and Caiado et al., Wiley (2015).

J. J. Bissell, Chapter 1: “Generalised Compartmental Modelling of Health Epidemics”, in Tipping Points : Modelling Social Problems and Health, Bissell and Caiado et al., Wiley (2015).

J. J. Bissell, Chapter 2: “Dimensional Analysis and Dimensional Reasoning” in Ways of Thinking, Ways of Seeing, C. C. Bissell and C. Dillon, Springer (2012).

Conference Proceedings and Scientific Briefings

M. Read, R. J. Kingham, and J. J. Bissell, The influence of magnetised electron transport on thermal self-focusing and channelling of nanosecond laser beams, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 717(1): 012111 (2016).

J. J. Bissell, Resilience of UK Infrastructure, Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, POSTnote 362, Publications of the U.K. Parliament (2010).