Theoretical physics is an international and highly competitive field. For several decades, Utrecht University's Institute for Theoretical Physics has been on the forefront of research in this area.
This programme serves as a gateway to understanding the fascinating world of physics, ranging from the unimaginably small scales of elementary particles to the vast dimensions of our universe.
The central goal of the Theoretical Physics programme is to obtain a detailed understanding of the collective behaviour of many particle systems from a fully microscopic point of view. In most physical systems, microscopic details determine the properties observed. Our condensed matter theorists and statistical physicists develop and apply methods for explaining and predicting these connections.
Examples include density functional theory, renormalisation-group theory and the scaling theory of critical phenomena. Dynamical properties are studied using such methods as kinetic theory and the theory of stochastic processes. These theories can be quantum mechanical, including theories of the quantum Hall effect, superconductivity, Bose-Einstein condensation, quantum magnetism and quantum computing. More classical are relationships between chaos and transport, nucleation phenomena, polymer dynamics and phase structure and dynamics of colloids.