Computational Physics Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members.

About the group

Computers have a role in almost every branch of physics. Areas in the scope of computational physics include:

  • large scale quantum mechanical calculations in nuclear, atomic, molecular and condensed matter physics
  • large scale calculations in fields like hydrodynamics, astrophysics, plasma physics, meteorology and geophysics
  • simulation and modelling of complex physical systems like those in condensed matter physics, medical physics and industrial applications
  • experimental data processing and image processing
  • computer algebra in development and applications
  • online interactions between physicist and the computer system
  • encouragement of professional expertise in computational physics in schools and universities

Computational physics

The huge increase in the power of computers has made an impact on the role of computational physics. In some cases, entire problems can now be solved computationally without the need for any experimental input. 

Computer graphics and visualisation play an important role in the scientific process. They can provide a greater understanding of physical processes. There have been advances in:

  • microelectronics
  • computer science 
  • numerical analysis

These all impact on computational physics.

What the group does

It is important that practitioners of the subject are aware of developments in these fields.

Our membership is currently about 1150. Members include those working in:

  • industry
  • academic institutions
  • government research organisations

Would you like to join this group?

Group prizes and competitions 

Annual PhD Thesis Prize

This award is for significant contributions to the advancement of computational physics


Entry is open to all students who:

  • are from an institution in the UK or Ireland
  • took a PhD examination  between 1 January 2019 and the prize submission deadline of 30 April 2020
  • did not apply for the CPG Thesis Prize in the previous year


Send us:

  • a four page (A4) abstract
  • a one page (A4) citation from the PhD supervisor, that includes:
  • the date of PhD examination
  • confirmation that the student passed
  • information about whether the thesis has also been submitted to another Institute group for a PhD thesis prize
  • a one page (A4) confidential report from the external thesis examiner
  • PDF documents if possible


The submission deadline is 30 April 2020.

Email your entries and enquiries with ‘IOP CPG Thesis Prize’ as the subject header to Dr Tyler Shendruk - Any queries should also be directed to Dr Shendruk.

Winners are invited to write an article in the Computational Physics Group newsletter.

If a similar thesis prize is offered by another IOP group (such as the Theory of Condensed Matter group), the Committee will liaise with the group so that both prizes are not awarded to the same applicant.

More information about the prize

Email to learn more.



Aldo Glielmo

King's College London. For Gaussian processes for force fields and wave functions.


Gabriel Constantinescu

The University of Cambridge. For a thesis on large-scale density functional theory study of van-der-Waals heterostructures.


First prize 

Ioan Magdau

The University of Edinburgh. For the thesis, Theoretical Investigation of Solid Hydrogen and Deuterium.

Joint second prize

Ahmed Al-Refaei

UCL. For  the thesis, Efficient Production of Hot Molecular Line Lists.

Joint second prize 

Morgane Vacher

Imperial College London.For the thesis, Electron and Nuclear Dynamics Following Molecular Ionization: Computational Methods and Applications.


First prize

Cathal O'Broin

Dublin City University. For the thesis, A New GPU-based Computational Framework for the Ab initio Solution of the TDSE for Atomic and Molecular One-Electron Systems under Intense Ultra-Short Laser Fields.

Joint second prize

Patrick Cannon

Lancaster University. For the thesis, Numerical Simulation of Wave-Plasma Interactions in the Ionosphere.

Joint second prize 

Andrew Goldsborough

University of Warwick. For the thesis, Tensor Networks and Geometry for the Modelling of Disordered Quantum Many-Body Systems.

Annual conference and events 

Find group events on the IOP events portal.

Condensed Matter and Materials Physics conference, December 2019, Spain


Our newsletter produced at least once a year includes: 

  • events
  • news of group activities
  • announcements of meetings
  • exciting applications of computational physics

Download the spring 2019 newsletter
Download the spring 2018 newsletter
Download the summer 2017 newsletter
Download the autumn 2016 newsletter
Download the summer 2015 newsletter

Contribute to the newsletter


Useful links


Read more on the blog of the Computational Physics Group of the Institute of Physics

Committee and contacts

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