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Condensed Matter Theory Group
Oxford Physics

About us

An introduction to theoretical condensed matter physics

Research areas

Members of the group

A selection of recent research



Graduate study
Post-doctoral positions

Contact Details
Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics
1 Keble Road
Oxford, OX1 3NP
Tel: 01865-273999
Fax 01865-273947
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About us:

Our research [link] covers a wide variety of different problems, which include systems as different as polymers, electrons constrained to move in two dimensions, exotic magnets, multi-component fluids, superconductors, and even populations of infectious or economic agents. We study systems as hard to manufacture as ultraclean semiconductor `sandwiches', or as commonplace as water ice.

Despite this large variety, there is a common thread to our research: we seek to understand the collective behaviour of systems which consist of large numbers of constituent elements. Such collective behaviour often turns out to be very rich and complex -- here are a few more words explaining this [link to JLC's explanation].

Equally varied as the research topics are the methods employed to study them, which range from elaborate quantum field theories to computer-based studies, for the most intensive of which we have a dedicated computer cluster.

These methods are not peculiar to condensed matter physics; rather, they provide the common language of theoretical physics, which enables us to benefit from exchanges [link to joint seminars] with our colleagues in the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics [link] who work in other disciplines, such as high energy or astrophysics.

We are in a good position to maintain strong links to experimental physics: the Oxford Physics Department also houses a strong experimental condensed matter theory group in the Clarendon Laboratory [link] (with a small theory group of its own), with which we also share a common seminar series [link]. Several/some members of our group collaborate directly with industrial research partners. We are also lucky to have the ISIS facility [link] -- a neutron source not relying on a reactor -- at the RAL, just south of Oxford, attracts a good fraction of the global neutron scattering and $\mu$SR communities.

At any given time, our group [link to staff] approximately consists of 10 members of academic staff, at least one long-term fellows, 12 postdocs, and 14 graduate students, as well as a number of visitors. Its members come from many different countries, and similarly, we collaborate with other scientists -- and attend workshops, conferences or summer schools -- all over the world.

The Group runs several series of seminars, some with visiting speakers and others showcasing the recent work of its own members. An important occasion each day, for the group and for the whole subdepartment, is the coffee half-hour each morning, which gives all the members of the group an opportunity for informal discussion.

We very much welcome interest in our group! For graduate studies [link] and postdoctoral positions [link], there is an annual application round. If you need information you cannot find on these webpages, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the member of our group who interests you most [link to list].

Recent Research

Physics Today Cover
The Biological Frontier of Physics
Rob Phillips and Steve Quake, Physics Today 59, 38 (2006)(pdf)
DNA tetrahedron
Rapid Chiral Assembly of Rigid DNA Building Blocks for Molecular Nanofabrication
R. P. Goodman, A. T. Schaap, C. F. Tardin, C. M. Erben, R. M. Berry, C. F. Schmidt, A. J. Turberfield, Science 310, 1661 (2005).