Richard Blythe · Home page


About me

I am a Reader based in the Condensed Matter research group➚ within the School of Physics and Astronomy➚, Edinburgh University➚. I research➚ models and theories for the dynamics of far-from-equilibrium physical systems and of complex interacting agent systems. I am associated➚ with various other research groups across the university and beyond. I am also a Divisional Associate Editor of top physics journal Physical Review Letters➚.

To get a quick overview of my research, you can watch a one-minute “Research in a Nutshell” video➚ about the connection between non-equilibrium physics and language change.

If you feel so moved, you can follow me on Twitter as @DrAlgernon.

write Dr Richard Blythe, SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, Peter Guthrie Tait Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FD, UK

email r.a.blythe [at] · phone +44 131 650 5105 · fax +44 131 650 5209

Find me

Visitors to the University may find me in Room 2505 of the James Clerk Maxwell Building➚ (JCMB) on the King’s Buildings campus. Directions to JCMB available here➚. Rooms within the building are well signposted. Do not panic if you feel you are entering a new dimension as you wend your way around the corridors – the building was extended at some point in its chequered history.

Contact details are at the foot of this page.


  1. Latest papers – Executive functions and biology learning➚, Novel condensation phenomena in an asymmetric exclusion process➚, more here➚...

  2. Statistical mechanics and word learning – in Physical Review Letters, we show that if children combine two simple strategies for word learning, they can acquire a large set of words (a “lexicon”) in the same time it takes for all those words to be encountered at least once. The paper is here➚, and a nice Focus piece➚ that explains it all in plain English can be found here.

  3. New Zealand English – at the beginning of 2008 there was some kerfuffle in the media (Today programme, Telegraph, New Zealand Herald and even, I believe, The Sun) about our work on modelling the emergence of the New Zealand English language dialect. The paper is here, and you can find further discussion of some important subtleties missed by the journalists on a special page of additional information.

  4. Personal appearances – I have recently been seen at the APS March Meeting 2014➚, Evolang X➚, the Flow Machines Workshop 2014: Creativity and Universality in Language and Music➚, and a variety of UK meetings in statistical physics and complex systems.