Dr. N. Vriend

BP Senior Research Fellow

Royal Society University Research Fellow

BPI, Earth Sciences and DAMTP

Fellow of Newnham College


  • 1998 - 2004 "Ingenieur"-degree: Mechanical Engineering, Uni. of Twente, The Netherlands
  • 2004 - 2005 M.Sc.-degree: Aeronautics, California Institute of Technology, USA
  • 2005 - 2010 Ph.D.-degree: Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, USA
  • 2010 - 2011 Postdoctoral Research Associate: DAMTP, Uni. of Cambridge, UK
  • 2011 - 2013 NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow: DAMTP, Uni. of Cambridge, UK
  • 2014 - 2019 Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow: DAMTP, Uni. of Cambridge, UK
  • 2019 - present BP Senior Fellowship and Royal Society University Research Fellow: BP Institute, Uni. of Cambridge, UK


    My research focuses on the dynamics of granular materials, with a special interest in geophysical phenomena occurring in nature and engineering problems in industry. Granular materials span a range of scales, from the micro-scale in grain phenomena to the macro-scale in large systems such as avalanches and dunes. Despite their importance, granular materials remain poorly understood; due to the lack of a comprehensive physical description, mathematical tools and techniques are insufficient to fully predict behavior of granular materials in industrial and natural applications at this time.

    In my research program I aim to gain a deeper understanding of the physics of granular materials across all different scales and flow regimes. My interests can be classified into the following areas:

  • wave propagation in a particulate material,
  • avalanching of a granular material and
  • pattern formation and coarsening dynamics

    Although I am first and foremost an experimentalist, I also employ numerical simulations to develop analytical models and to form a comprehensive picture of open research questions.