Teacher Detail

Our researchers

Iker Zuriguel Ballaz

Center(s)
Physics and Applied Mathematics
School of Sciences University of Navarra
Associate Dean of Research and academic staff
School of Sciences University of Navarra
Lines of research
Granular matter, Pedestrian dynamics, Active matter, Clogging and Jamming, Segregation

I graduated in Chemistry in the year 2000 at the University of Navarra, institution at which I also obtained my PhD in Physics in 2005. During the PhD I did a 6-months stay with Prof. Hamid Kellay and Prof. Jean François Boudet, at Bordeaux University. After the PhD, I worked as a postdoc at the University of Manchester under the supervision of the physicist Prof. Tom Mullin, and in collaboration with Prof. Michael Rotter, an engineer from the University of Edinburgh. After this fruitful postdoc I had the opportunity of joining the Granular average Lab, at the University of Navarra in 2007.
Since that moment, I gradually acquired an increasing number of responsibilities within the group. At first, as a lead of a line related with my postdoc research topic about the effect of particle shape in granular behavior. Then, I started to supervise small projects of regional character. Finally, in January of 2015 I became the Principal Investigator of the MINECO Project that supposes the main source of funding of the Granular average Lab. This project had its continuation with two other ones, the first starting in 2018 and the second in 2021. Also, in the last years I am trying to enlarge the sources of funding of our group by participating in collaborations with industrial partners and applying to European calls. In the former case, I have been mostly helping Prof. Diego Maza in several projects with enterprises (Volkswagen Navarra, LKS engineering in San Sebastian, Magna Navarra). Concerning European projects, I participated in a long-term action (Space Grains) that will culminate in the next couple of years with the performance of a granular matter experiment in the International Space Station. Also, Raúl Cruz (as a local IP) and myself participate in a European ITN action (CALIPER) which main objective is the training of PhD students in the field of granular materials. Next April I will start the supervision of a Marie Curie postdoc in the field of active matter.
My present lines of research are mainly two, always from an experimental side. The first one is the study of granular materials, a topic in which our group has 20 years of experience and has become a world reference (a proof of this is my participation with invited or keynote talks in all reference meetings on this field). The second is an emerging line of research on active macroscopic matter (flow of animals, humans, and self-propelled agents). Although my participation on this investigation was at first casual, I have become more involved on it; to the point that, at present, my engagement is similar to that on granular average. Also, within this field I belong to the scientific committee of the two main recurrent conferences (TGF, and PED). Indeed, I was the main organizer of the TGF meeting in Pamplona, where joined 150 researchers from all around the world.
All this activity allowed me to obtain, in 2019, the National Accreditation as a Full Professor, a figure was promoted on the 1st of January 2021. Also in 2019, I was appointed as a Vice-Dean of Research of the faculty of Sciences of the University of Navarra.