Our People

Professor Thomas Adcock

A headshot

Professor Thomas Adcock

  • Fellow and Tutor in Engineering Science
  • Professor of Engineering Science

I am serving as Senior Proctor for the 2024-2025 academic year.

I am Fellow and Tutor in Engineering Science at St Peter’s and a Professor in the Department of Engineering Science. I joined St Peter’s as an undergraduate in 2001 before moving to New College for my doctorate and going on to hold several post-doctoral and industry positions. I was privileged to return to St Peter’s as a Fellow in 2012. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and a Chartered Engineer.


In College, I teach structures and dynamics. St Peter’s shares teaching with Exeter College so I also teach Exeter students in these areas. In the department I currently give lectures at either end of the course: I teach the introduction to statics course to freshers in their first week in Oxford and also lecture on coastal and ocean engineering to the 4th year students. I also demonstrate on a number of practical and numerical undergraduate labs.


In general terms, my research looks at the ocean environment — how we can use it to our advantage and how we can design against it. Particular interests are rogue waves, tidal energy, tsunamis and storm surges. My work on tidal power has been featured in various national newspapers and has been discussed in the Scottish parliament. In 2015 I was interviewed about rogue waves on The Today Programme.

I am also interested in historical engineering projects and what we can learn from them. I often run a final-year undergraduate project looking at a significant historical project. I have appeared on The One Show to demonstrate how the floating breakwaters used during the Normandy landings in the Second World War worked. Here is a blog post I wrote describing research I carried out with an undergraduate on the Mulberry Habour.