School of Earth and Environment

Ben Murray Prof Ben Murray

Professor of Atmospheric Science

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 32887/36485
Email address:
Room: 10.101

Link to personal page

Research Interests

Ice nucleation and its role in cloud formation; glass formation in atmospheric aerosols; the crystal structure of ice in the atmosphere; control of ice in cryopreservation.

Researcher ID; Google scholar

Research summary

Dr Murray researches nucleation and crystallisation throughout the Earth's atmosphere, in collaboration with aerosol and cloud modellers. Major areas of research include:

  • Ice nucleation on solid particles such as mineral dust, soot and biogenic materials

  • Measurements of the concentration of atmospheric ice nucleating particles from airborne, ship or ground based platforms

  • Global modelling of ice nucleating particle distributions

  • Crystal structure and properties of ice which forms under atmospherically relevant conditions
  • Glass formation and the role of other amorphous solids in the Earth's atmosphere

  • Nucleation crystallisation from solution droplets

  • Cryopreservation (including knowledge exchange with industrial partners)

  • Efficient descriptions of ice nucleation for use in cloud models

  • Formation of crystalline acid hydrates in stratospheric clouds


Ben graduated with a First-Class MChem Honours degree from the University of Wales, Swansea, in 1999. This included a period spent working in Professor M. A. Tolbert’s research group at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA, where he worked on phase changes in atmospheric aerosols. Following this, Ben undertook a PhD at the School of Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia where he worked on heterogeneous chemistry in mesospheric ice clouds.

Ben then moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 2004, for a post-doctoral fellowship with Professor Allan Bertram at the University of British Columbia, researching phases of ice in the Earth’s upper troposphere. Returning to the UK in 2006, he took up a permanent academic position at the University of Leeds in the School of Earth and Environment, where he is now a Professor of Atmospheric Science.

Funding - current

European Research Council Proof-of-Concept. A new cryoprotectant formulation for the next generation of high throughput screening toxicology tests (CryoProtect): Using atmospheric discoveries to control ice nucleation in commercial applications (PI)

European Research Council Fellowship. Ice-Nucleating Particles in the Marine Atmosphere – MarineIce (PI)

NERC (UK’s Natural Environment Research Council) standard grant. Atmospheric ice nuclei in the Arctic; ICE-ACCACIA: aircraft measurements of atmospheric IN and ship based measurements of sea-surface microlayer IN as part of the ACCACIA campaign (PI)

Prof J Plane’s European Research Council fellowship. Cosmic Dust in the Terrestrial Atmosphere (CODITA): Murray’s role is to co-supervise a student in a lab study of nucleation of acid hydrates in the stratosphere (Co-I)

Funding - historic

European Research Council Proof-of-Concept. The control of ice nucleation (IceControl): Knowledge exchange project using atmospheric science discovery to control nucleation of ice in commercial applications. (PI)

European Research Council Fellowship. Laboratory and modelling studies of ice nucleation and crystallisation in the Earth’s atmosphere – ICE: ice nucleation by mineral dusts, glassy aerosol, crystal structure of ice, cloud modelling (PI)

NERC consortium. Aerosol-Cloud Interactions - A Directed Programme to Reduce Uncertainty in Forcing (ACID-PRUF) through a Targeted Laboratory and Modelling Programme: Mineral dust and secondary organic aerosol ice nucleation (Co-I)

NERC standard grant. Quantifying the efficiency with which biological particles nucleate ice when immersed in supercooled water droplets: laboratory based study of ice nucleating efficiency of biological materials (PI)

NERC open CASE studentship supported by Asymptote Ltd. Designer ice nuclei for geoengineering: Use our fundamental understanding of ice nucleation to find materials which could be used to modify clouds and also used in cryopreservation applications (PI)

EUROCHAMP-2 transnational activity. The impact of glassy aerosol on cirrus clouds: campaign at the AIDA cloud chamber (PI)

NERC New investigator award. Quantifying the efficiency with which solid mineral particles nucleate ice when immersed in supercooled water droplets: ice nucleation by mineral dusts (PI)

NERC Connect A, KT award. Funding for a session on atmospheric nucleation and crystallisation at the BACG (PI)

ACCENT. The inhibition of crystallisation experiments: Experiments at the AIDA cloud chamber to look at glassy aerosol and their influence on cirrus clouds (PI)

NERC post-doctoral fellowship. Laboratory investigations of ice formation in the Earth's atmosphere (PI)


Atmospheric Physics (SOEE 2530)

Atmospheric Pollution from Local to Global Scales (SOEE2481)

Environmental Science/Meteorology and Climate Science Tutorials (SOEE1442)

Frontiers in Environmental Research (SOEE3710)

Environmental Research Project (SOEE3030)

INUIT summer school (Atmospheric Ice Nucleation and its Implications), Braunfels, Germany


  • MChem from University of Wales, Swansea (1999)

  • PhD from University of East Anglia (2004)


  • Aerosol Society (UK) - committee member (Education officer)

  • British Association for Crystal Growth (BACG)

  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)

  • European Geosciences Union (EGU)