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Theory of Condensed Matter

Theoretical Condensed Matter physics is about building models of physical processes, often driven by experimental data, generalising the solutions of those models to make experimental predictions, and transferring the concepts gained into other areas of research. Theory plays an important role in understanding known phenomena and in predicting new ones.

With over seventy members, the TCM Group is one of the largest research Groups in the Cavendish Laboratory, and the largest university Condensed Matter Theory group in the country. Able to trace its history back for over sixty years, it has been home to many leading theoreticians.

Starting at the first principles microscopic level - with the Schrödinger equation - many properties of materials can now be calculated with a high degree of accuracy. We work on refining and developing new calculational tools and applying them to problems in physics, chemistry, materials science and biology.

Solids often show unusual collective behaviour resulting from cooperative quantum or classical phenomena. For this type of physics a more model-based approach is appropriate, and we are using such methods to attack problems in magnetism, superconductivity, nonlinear optics, mesoscopic systems, polymers, and colloids.

Collective behaviour comes even more to the fore in systems on a larger scale. As examples, we work on self-organising structures in "soft" condensed matter systems, non-linear dynamics of interacting systems, the observer in quantum mechanics, and models of biophysical processes, from the molecular scale up to neural systems.

TCM is proud to announce that two of its alumni shared in the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. Prof. David J. Thouless moved from DAMTP to take up a lectureship in the Solid State Theory group (the early incarnation of TCM) from 1964-65 before moving to Birmingham. Later, David returned to TCM as a Royal Society Professor, moving soon after to the University of Washington. Fortunately, he remained a frequent Summer visitor to the group. Prof. F. Duncan M. Haldane was a graduate student in TCM working under the supervision of another Nobel Laureate from the group, Prof. Philip Anderson, and receiving his PhD in 1978 before transferring to the Institut Laue-Langevin. Together with Cavendish graduate Prof. J. Michael Kosterlitz, they received the Nobel Prize "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".

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Theoretical Condensed Matter physics is about building models of physical processes, often driven by experimental data, generalising the solutions of those models to make experimental predictions, and transferring the concepts gained into other areas of research. Theory plays an important role in understanding known phenomena and in predicting new ones.

With over seventy members, the TCM Group is one of the largest research Groups in the Cavendish Laboratory, and the largest university Condensed Matter Theory group in the country. Able to trace its history back for over sixty years, it has been home to many leading theoreticians.

Starting at the first principles microscopic level - with the Schrödinger equation - many properties of materials can now be calculated with a high degree of accuracy. We work on refining and developing new calculational tools and applying them to problems in physics, chemistry, materials science and biology.

Solids often show unusual collective behaviour resulting from cooperative quantum or classical phenomena. For this type of physics a more model-based approach is appropriate, and we are using such methods to attack problems in magnetism, superconductivity, nonlinear optics, mesoscopic systems, polymers, and colloids.

Collective behaviour comes even more to the fore in systems on a larger scale. As examples, we work on self-organising structures in "soft" condensed matter systems, non-linear dynamics of interacting systems, the observer in quantum mechanics, and models of biophysical processes, from the molecular scale up to neural systems.

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TCM is proud to announce that two of its alumni shared in the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. Prof. David J. Thouless moved from DAMTP to take up a lectureship in the Solid State Theory group (the early incarnation of TCM) from 1964-65 before moving to Birmingham. Later, David returned to TCM as a Royal Society Professor, moving soon after to the University of Washington. Fortunately, he remained a frequent Summer visitor to the group. Prof. F. Duncan M. Haldane was a graduate student in TCM working under the supervision of another Nobel Laureate from the group, Prof. Philip Anderson, and receiving his PhD in 1978 before transferring to the Institut Laue-Langevin. Together with Cavendish graduate Prof. J. Michael Kosterlitz, they received the Nobel Prize "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".

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