Peter Berg

Dean, Faculty of Mathematics and Science

Professor, Department of Physics

Office: MC D408 – Fourth Floor of Mackenzie-Chown Building in the Earth Sciences department.

Phone: 905 688 5550 x 3422



  • PhD in Mathematics, University of Bristol, UK
  • Physik Diplom, University of Muenster (WWU), Germany

Service and Other Activities

  • Chair, Department of Science, University of Alberta (2015-2022)
  • Certificate in Building Capacity for Reconciliation, University of Alberta (2018-2019)
  • Gold College – University of Alberta Leadership Program (2015-2016)
  • NTNU Leadership Program (2014-2015)
  • Faculty Representative, Board of Governors, Finance & Audit Committee, UOIT (2006-2009)
  • Life-time Member, American Physical Society
  • Member, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Member, Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
  • Book author
  • Numerous public speaking and outreach activities (“The Enigma Story”)
  • Numerous media contributions


“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” (A. Einstein)

My research interests lie at the interface of applied mathematics and theoretical physics, especially as it relates to electro-kinetic fluid flows in electro-chemical energy devices such as fuel cells.


  • Sources: NSERC, Ontario Research Fund, CFI, Government of Canada (SIF), MITACS, Research Council of Norway, SIU, Ballard, Toyota Motor Corporation, Enbridge Inc., RWTH Aachen, Academics without Borders, Beakerhead, University of Alberta, NTNU, UOIT, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, EPSRC, WE-Heraeus Foundation, ERASMUS Program, Donors
  • Total funding: over $4.0m

Summary of Publications

> 45 journal papers, 15 papers in conference proceedings, 13 industrial research reports (Ballard, Toyota), 1 book, 2 patents, 2 theses

Citations (excl. self-citations): ≥ 2,000 (Google Scholar), h-index ≥ 20 (Google Scholar)

Selected Publications: “Top 10”

  • P. Berg and P. Nadon, Random pore-network model for polymer electrolyte membranes, Soft Matter, doi: 10.1039/d0sm02212h, pp. 1-14 (2021)
  • M. Mpumelelo, M. Eikerling and P. Berg, Electrokinetic Onsager coefficients and energy conversion in deformable nanofluidic channels, Special Issue “Dynamical aspects using mean field methods for electrolytes and applications”, Eur. Phys. J., 227, pp. 2559-2573 (2019)
  • A.A. Kulikovsky and P. Berg, Positioning of a reference electrode in a PEM fuel cell, J. Electrochem. Soc., Vol. 8, pp. F843-F848 (2015)
  • M. Schmuck and P. Berg, Effective macroscopic equations for species transport and reactions in porous catalyst layers, J. Electrochem. Soc., Vol. 161, pp. E3323-E3327 (2014)
  • M. Eikerling and P. Berg, Poroelectroelastic theory of water sorption and swelling in polymer electrolyte membranes, Soft Matter, 7, pp. 5976-5990 (2011)
  • P. Berg and J. Findlay, Analytical solution of PNP-Stokes equations in a cylindrical channel, Proc. Roy. Soc. A, Vol. 467, pp. 3157-3169 (2011)
  • P. Berg, P. Hanz and I. Milton, An energy-economic oil production model, IMA J. Applied Mathematics, doi:10.1093/imamat/hxr049, pp. 1-26 (2011)
  • P. Berg, K. Promislow, J. St-Pierre, J. Stumper and B. Wetton, Water management in PEM fuel cells, J. Electrochem. Soc., 151, No.3, pp. A341-353 (2004)
  • P. Berg and A.W. Woods, On-ramp simulations and solitary waves in a car-following model, Phys. Rev. E, 64, 035602 (2001)
  • P. Berg, A.D. Mason and A.W. Woods, Continuum approach to car-following models, Phys. Rev. E, 61, pp.1056-1066 (2000)


3 postdoctoral fellows, 4 PhD students, 12 MSc students, 4 undergraduate thesis students, 4 undergraduate summer research students

Selected Presentations, Workshops

  • “Nanoscale Physics of Electrochemical and Biological Media”, WE-Heraeus Seminar, Main Organizer, May 2021, Germany
  • “Energy conversion in electrokinetic flow through soft nanofluidic channels”, Ion Transport and Nanofluidics: Modeling, Analysis and Numerics, Fields Institute, August 2019, Toronto, Canada
  • “One-dimensional model for electro-kinetic transport in deformable nanochannels”, Dead Sea Water Workshop 2019, February 2019, Ein Gedi, Israel
  • “Beyond the Imitation Game: From Alan Turing & Bletchley Park to James Bond & Quantum Encryption”, > 25 public talks in Canada, Germany and Norway, 2015-
  • “Pore network models and electro-osmotic drag in polymer electrolyte membranes”, Fuel Cells – Gordon Research Conference, Stone Hill College, August 2016, Easton, USA
  • “Capabilities and limitations of PEM pore network models”, Advances in Polymers for Fuel Cells and Energy Devices, February 2015, Asilomar, USA
  • “Water and ions in PEM nanopores”, ECI 2014 – Electrochemical Interfaces: Recent Topics and Open Questions, WIAS, October 2014, Berlin, Germany
  • “Probing the universe”, The Unseen, 3rd Annnual TEDxTrondheim Conference, October 2014, Trondheim, Norway
  • “Water Phenomena in PEM”, Int. Workshop, Main Organizer, NTNU, October 2013, Trondheim, Norway


  • “Endliche Welt, unendliches Geld – Das wahre Dilemma der Nachhaltigkeit” (Finite world, infinite money – Sustainability’s true dilemma), oekom verlag, 2016


I don’t believe I can really do without teaching. The reason is, I have to have something so that when I don’t have any ideas and I’m not getting anywhere I can say to myself, “At least I’m living; at least I’m doing something; I am making some contribution” (R. Feynman)

Teaching Philosophy – In a Nutshell

Teaching and learning are processes that take place in a social context. It is the responsibility of the teacher to create a productive learning environment and it is the duty of the students to commit to their studies. Nothing can replace a knowledgeable, inspiring and organized teacher, equipped with a great sense of humour, not even a computer.

Favourite Teacher at Present

Professor Leonard Susskind, Stanford University

Online Lecture Series “The Theoretical Minimum”,

Pedagogical Training

Pedagogical certificate – Pedagogical development program (“PEDup”), NTNU (2013-2014)

Pedagogical Initiatives & Program Development

  • Implementation of innovative 3-11 Calendar (“Augustana Calendar”), unique in Canada, Department of Science, University of Alberta (2016-2018)
  • Introduction of academic mentorship program for 1st-year physics students, NTNU (2014-2015)
  • Program development at UOIT (2005-2006): BSc Medical Physics; MSc and PhD Modelling and Computational Science; MSc and PhD Materials Science

IT and Teaching

  • Principal investigator of international educational project “Creating a computational-physics platform at the University of Eswatini (CP@UE)“; partnership with Department of Physics, University of Eswatini (former Swaziland); funded by Academics Without Borders (2021-2023)
  • Principal investigator of the nationally-funded project “Creating a computational-physics online platform with IPython Notebook”, Norway (2015-2016),
  • IT in Education (IKTiSU) projects at NTNU (2012, 2014), involving Matlab and IPython Notebook
  • Introduction of computational physics and numerical methods into most of my courses, including homework problems, projects, and final exam questions

Classroom Experience

  • Significant teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level, covering small (< 20 students), medium-sized (20-50 students) and large courses (50-250 students)
  • Use of tablet PC as teaching tool since 2004
  • Courses taught: Calculus II, Calculus III, Ordinary Differential Equations, Mathematical Ecology and Dynamical Systems, Numerical Methods, Mathematical Modelling, Physics I, Physics II, Mechanics I, Mechanics II, Fluid Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics I, Quantum Mechanics II, History of Mathematics and Physics, Introductory Energy Science, Introductory Environment Science, Emerging Energy Technologies, Hydrogen-based Energy Systems and Fuel Cells, Physics and Geophysics, Science in Context