Theoretical Physics News

Support for scientists and students from Ukraine

The Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Department of Physics are reaching out to scientists and students in (theoretical) physics from Ukraine to offer support, e.g. by offering office space or otherwise. Those interested are asked to contact the head of department, prof. Stefan Vandoren ( The department is also willing to consider similar requests from researchers and students who have fled Russia or Belarus.

The Kramers chair of Theoretical Physics

The Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP) is excited to announce that Prof. Randall Kamien (University of Pennsylvania) will be the (visiting) Kramers Professor in February and March 2023. Prof. Kamien is an extremely versatile theoretical physicist working on soft matter, with a particular focus on the physics and the intricate geometry and topology of liquid crystals. His strong reputation and his broad knowledge across many areas of physics are also reflected by two important editorships, as he has been  Lead Editor of Journal of Modern Physics since 2017 and APS Editor in Chief (of the Physical Review series) since the beginning of 2023,  see also Prof. Kamien is also well known for his high-quality and enthusiastic lectures, and we are looking forward to his lectures on “Geometric and Topological Methods in Materials”

in the D-ITP MSc-course ATTP during his visit. More information on Prof. Kamien can be found on his website During his visit, his office in the ITP will be BBG 7.84.


Take a look at the ITP YouTube Channel.

ITP History

Jurriaan Wouters, PhD student at the ITP, took a dive into the early history of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, and came up with some interesting new information regarding the founding of the ITP. Read a short article on his findings.

Elisa Chisari interview in NRC

NRC published an interview with Elisa Chisari titled: Sterrenstelsels flippen om en we voelen er niks van (in Dutch)

Liquid flow reversibly creates a macroscopic surface charge gradient

Liquid flow reversibly creates a macroscopic surface charge gradient

In 2014 scientists found that the interfacial chemistry of materials is altered when water is flown over them. The discovery that flow can alter chemistry at the atomic scale was a surprise for people in the field. While the observation was already published in Science in 2014, it was still unclear why flow alters chemistry. A collaboration between ITF and the Max-Planck institute in Mainz have now found the mechanism, which was recently published in Nature Communications.

The theory shows that the chemistry of even poorly soluble minerals is already altered at low flow rates, representative of rain filtering through soil. This means that the effect could potentially be common in nature. The result could thus be relevant for geological research, affecting soil decontamination and the transport of plant nutrients in farmland.

NWO Vidi Grant for Elisa Chisari

Elisa Chisari has been awarded an NWO-VIDI grant for her research proposal "Galaxy alignments answer fundamental questions about the Universe" With the 800k€ grant Chisari and her group will investigate the physics of galaxy alignments. Galaxies are sensitive to tides across the Universe, like the ones that make the oceans on the Earth rise. In this striking phenomenon, there is a wealth of information hiding about how our Universe began, what it is made of, and how galaxies were formed. In this project, researchers will help uncover this wealth of information.

Earlier this year, Chisari received another grant to collaborate with students on developing activities for the public to inform them about light pollution and its negative effects on biodiversity in the city and its surroundings.

NWO Vici Grant for Umut Gursoy

Umut Gursoy was awarded 1,5 million euros for his NWO-VICI proposal "The most archaic ocean in our universe." 

String theory suggests that waves in an ocean of quarks and gluons—the fundamental building blocks of atomic nuclei—are related to ripples on a black-hole horizon. Gursoy and his team will use this connection to describe how energy and charge flowed in our universe microseconds after the Big Bang.

NWO-ENW-Klein grant for developing black hole on a chip

Rembert Duine (UU & TU/e) and Reinoud Lavrijsen (TU/e) received an NWO-ENW-Klein grant of 700,000 euro for the proposal 'Black Holes on a Chip'. The goal of the proposed research is to use state-of-the-art materials science and nano-fabrication techniques to experimentally realise a magnetic analogue of astronomical black holes. The underlying theory was developed by Rembert Duine and published in 2017.

More info here.