Professor Nicola Wilkin BSc, PhD

Professor N K Wilkin

School of Physics and Astronomy
Director of Education, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Professor of Physics

Contact details

44 (0)121 414 5053
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School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nicola Wilkin is a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy. Her research is in the areas of ultracold gases (three citation classics) and the flow mechanisms of vortices in mesoscopic superconductors.

Nicola is Director of Education for the College of Engineering & Physical Sciences. The role provides the strategic leadership for the College’s education delivery as it prepares to deliver programmes in Dubai, and on the dual degree undergraduate Birmingham-Jinan programmes.

On the Edgbaston campus she is leading the EdTech provision for the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory which will open to students in September 2018. Particular focus is on the creation of a platform for self-paced, automatic learning for mathematically based modules. This work is being undertaken in partnership with the software developers, Maple T.A. The content is created and designed in partnership with large teams of undergraduate interns. For more information, please visit the MapleTABham2017 and MapleTABham2016 websites and listen to The Edtech Podcast:

Nicola has a long standing interest in improving the representation of Women in Physics and has been Hon Secretary of the Institute of Physics Women in Physics Group as well as being a member of the University Diversity Forum. She co-chaired (alongside then Head of School, Prof Andy Schofield) the School’s successful equality awards: Institute of Physics JUNO Champion and Athena SWAN Silver submission.

Nicola has co-ordinated the current topics in theoretical physics module, including the mock interview process which is provided in partnership with Forresters, the intellectual property firm.

Nicola was the local organising Chair of the International Conference on Women in Physics 2017 (a triennial UN-affiliated meeting). Please read her LinkedIn post, What does it feel like not to be in the minority? And why does it matter?, for Nicola's reflections on the conference and why it matters.

Nicola was also the academic mentor associated with the launch of the first oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in England.


  • PhD in Theoretical Physics,  University of Manchester, 1993
  • BSc Hons, Physics with Mathematics, University of Southampton, 1990


Nicola Wilkin obtained her PhD from the University of Manchester, working on vortex crossing in superconductors. After postdoctoral positions at the University of Sheffield and Imperial College following this she became a member of staff at the University of Birmingham.

Seizing the opportunity of transferring her understanding of vortices in superconductors she and her collaborators developed the framework for an understanding of the rotation of ultracold gases. This set of papers which links ultracold gases, superfluids and fractional quantum hall effect have become very well cited.


  • Y3 Quantum Mechanics
  • Y3 Current Topics in Theoretical Physics
  • Y4 Project Supervision

Postgraduate supervision

  • Supervision of research PhDs in ultracold gases and vortex flow in superconductors.



  • Ultracold gases: 
  • Rotation of very dilute gases
  • Superconductors:
  • Investigation of vortex flow in mesoscopic superconducting channels.

Other activities

  • TEF advisory panel (Institute of Physics)

  • Observer for the Genera Horizon 2020 project  (Gender Equality Network in the European Research Area).


  • Parke, M.I., Wilkin N.K., Gunn J.M.F, Bourne A.(2008) Exact vortex nucleation and cooperative vortex tunneling in dilute Bose-Einstein condensates Physical Review Letters 101, 110401 
  • Cooper,N.R. Wilkin,N.K. Gunn, J.M.F. (2001) Quantum Phases of Vortices in Rotating Bose-Einstein Condensates
 Physical Review Letters 87, 120405 
  • Wilkin,N.K. Gunn, J.M.F. (2000) Condensation of “Composite Bosons” in a Rotating BEC
 Physical Review Letters 84, 6-9 
  • Wilkin,N.K. Gunn, J.M.F. (1998) Do Attractive Bosons Condense?
NK Wilkin, JMF Gunn, RA Smith
Physical Review Letters 80, 2265-2268

View all publications in research portal