Maurits Haverkort recently moved to Heidelberg where he leads his group on Theory of spectroscopy, dynamics and numerical methods for complex materials.
The properties of the materials around us are governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. These laws describe how electrons and nuclei form atoms, how atoms bind to form molecules and solids, and how these many particle systems evolve as a function of time. Although the laws of quantum mechanics are easy to understand for the interaction between two electrons, quite amazing phenomena emerge when many (1023) electrons interact with each other in a solid. The prediction of material properties often require large computers with modern algorithms, which use approximations of the true laws of quantum mechanics. Although the current set of tools we have is quite successful in some cases, there is no general theory that can be applied (and solved) for all materials. There is thus a need for new theoretical methods and ideas and predictions for specific cases should be tested against experiment. Our group works on this boundary between theory and experiment by developing new theoretical methods able to quantitatively predict the properties excitations and dynamics of complex, realistic materials.