John Wheater

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John Wheater

Professor of Physics, Head of Particle Theory Group

I read Physics at Oxford graduating in 1979 and did my D.Phil on electroweak radiative corrections under the supervision of Chris Llewellyn Smith. I joined the academic staff in 1985 and am Professor of Physics and a Fellow of University College. I received the 1993 Maxwell Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics. I served as Head of the Physics Department 2010-18.

I work on discretized models of quantum geometry and gravity, and on general quantum field theory problems. Studying quantum geometry models helps us to understand the generic large-scale features that a quantum universe may possess, and how these are encoded in the short distance properties at the Planck scale. Current quantum geometry projects include the relationship of boundary states in matrix models to those in Liouville/conformal field theory, solvable matter systems on causal triangulations in two dimensions, and questions concerning quantum processes in random graph ensembles. In quantum field theory I am investigating the effective field theories describing how quantum systems that can be realised in the lab probe for new fundamental physics, and the emergence of new conformal fixed points in large N quantum field theories.

Most of my publications since the early 90s are available open access from the arXiv

S1 Functions of a Complex Variable TT 2018

All the material for this course will appear here.


The recommended book for the course is Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering (3rd edition, CUP 2006) by K.F. Riley, M.P. Hobson and S.J. Bence. You will need access to a copy of this book.

More advanced books suitable for further reading and available on the web are
An Introduction to the Theory of Functions of a Complex Variable by E.T. Copson
The Theory of Functions by E.C. Titchmarsh
An alternative more modern book for further reading is Complex Analysis (4th edition, Springer 2003) by S. Lang


  1. Analytic functions of a complex variable and the Cauchy-Riemann conditions
  2. Entire functions, poles, branch points and cuts, poles at infinity
  3. Mappings in the complex plane, conformal maps and the Mobius (or modular) map
  4. Solution of two-dimensional Laplace problems
  5. Integrals in the complex plane and Cauchy's Theorem
  6. Cauchy's Residue Theorem
  7. Applications of Cauchy's Theorems to integral calculus
  8. Jordan's Lemma and more applications
  9. Integrals through singularities, the Principal Value
  10. Integrals involving multi-valued functions

At the end of the course the last two lectures will be revision

Following the course

You can only learn mathematics by practicing it yourself. We will do many examples in the lectures but it is vital that you then do at least the questions in Chapter 24 of Riley's book.

Further practice

Further practice is available from the question sets prepared by Dr Hautmann for an earlier version of this course. Please note that we will not be covering all the material in these sets and that the examination will be confined to material covered in this year's lectures. The question sets are
Complex Numbers and Complex Differentiation and Answers
Multivalued Functions, Branch points, Branch Cuts and Complex Integration and Answers
Power Series, Singular Points and Residue Calculus and Answers
More Residue Calculus and Integral Transforms and Answers

PDFs of lecture notes

Part 1
Part 2