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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J017639/1
Title: Theory of Condensed Matter Group, Cambridge - Critical Mass Grant
Principal Investigator: Payne, Professor MC
Other Investigators:
Needs, Professor RJ Warner, Professor M Terentjev, Professor E
Cooper, Professor N Simons, Professor BD
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr MJ Bhaseen Dr D Cole Dr P Lopez Rios
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2012 Ends: 30 September 2016 Value (£): 2,980,631
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biophysics Complex fluids & soft solids
Condensed Matter Physics Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Apr 2012 EPSRC Physical Sciences Physics - April Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
As theoreticians, we construct models of physical and chemical processes that are generally inspired by experimental discoveries, we generalise these models and their solutions to make predictions for new experiments, and we transfer the concepts and theoretical tools which emerge from the solution of these models to other areas of research, in a concerted interdisciplinary effort. In short, the role of theory is to understand known phenomena observed in the laboratory or in everyday life, and to predict new physical processes and phenomena.

Our theoretical research is both about making calculations, to quantitatively understand and predict the behaviour of matter, but also about making models to illuminate the landscape of emergent behaviour in physics, chemistry, material science, and biology. The role of theory includes both fundamental knowledge creation and practical applications of modelling for new and existing technology. The applications of our activity are as various as ultracold atoms, semiconductor devices and biological function.

Starting from first principles on the microscopic level (as embodied in the Schrödinger equation) electronic, mechanical and structural properties of molecules and materials can now be calculated with a remarkable degree of accuracy. We work on developing and refining new computational tools and applying them to a broad spectrum of fundamental and applied problems in physics, chemistry, materials science and, particularly at present, in biology.

Solids and fluids often show unusual collective behaviour resulting from cooperative quantum or classical phenomena. For such phenomena a more model-based approach is often appropriate, and we are using such methods to attack problems in magnetism, superfluidity, nonlinear optics, mesoscopic systems, complex fluids and solids, and bio-polymers. 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, and models of biophysical processes, all of which bridge the gap between molecular and mesoscopic scales.
Key Findings
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk