Katharine Challis



Katharine is a physicist specialising in the use of advanced mathematical and computational methods for explaining and predicting complex behaviour in physical systems.  She is currently interested in energy processes that occur at the nanoscale and has a Marsden Fast-Start grant to work on the physics of how cells use energy.


  • 2006 PhD Theoretical Physics, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • 2002 BSc (First Class Honours) Physics, University of Otago, Dunedin 

Research capabilities

  • Statistical physics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics
  • Quantum-condensed matter physics
  • Advanced mathematical and computational methods

Career highlights

  • 2014 Marsden Fast-Start Grant
  • 2012 Theoretical Physicist, Scion, Rotorua
  • 2009 Post Doctoral Fellow, Scion, Rotorua
  • 2007-2009 Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • 2007 Research Associate, Durham University, United Kingdom
  • 2006 Fixed Term Lecturer, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • 2002 Bright Future Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship 

Selected papers

K. J. Challis and M. W. Jack, Thermal fluctuation statistics in a molecular motor described by a multidimensional master equation.  Physical Review E 88, 062136 (2013)

K. J. Challis and M. W. Jack, Energy transfer in a molecular motor in the Kramers regime.  Physical Review E 88, 042114 (2013)

K. J. Challis and M. W. Jack, Tight-binding approach to overdamped Brownian motion on a multidimensional tilted periodic potential.  Physical Review E 87, 052102 (2013)

Molecular motors drive energy technologies. Scion Connections 10 (2013)

Katharine’s publication list can be found at Google scholar.